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IT is two years since Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust signed a potentially life-saving partnership agreement, which is proving to be a great success.
To coincide with the second anniversary Pennine Care is hosting a fire safety week starting on Monday, October 12, where staff from both organisations will be on hand giving safety advice to make even more members of the community safe.
The partnership was established in October 2013 to protect and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of local people.
Since that time staff from Pennine Care and GMFRS have been delivering the mutual aims of the agreement of reducing the risk of fire, fire injuries and deaths, protecting people, property and the environment from harm, improving the health and wellbeing of local communities and improving fire safety and health awareness of staff.
In line with the agreement fire safety has been incorporated into core business within Pennine Care with the Trust’s staff referring service users to GMFRS for safe and well visits to keep them safer in their homes.
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “GMFRS is two years into its life-saving partnership with Pennine Care and in that time many positive changes have taken place.
“Noticeable improvements of the partnership include staff at Pennine Care having a better understanding of behaviours associated with fires and more people receiving safe and well visits from GMFRS.”
A Greater Manchester resident who has personally benefited from the partnership is an 83-year-old man from Manchester who lives with his wife and two children and has reduced mobility.
The elderly man received a visit from GMFRS’ community safety staff in September 2015, after a referral was made by Pennine Care.
GMFRS Head of Fire Prevention, Area Manager Wayne Shields, said: “During the visit our staff members carried out a safe and well check that included the fitting of three smoke alarms to keep the occupants of the house safe.
“Life-saving advice was given during the visit and included an escape plan being agreed, should one be needed in the event of a fire, bedtime routines, safe cooking and testing smoke alarms.”
Another individual who GMFRS has worked closely with as a result of the partnership is a 37-year-old woman from Oldham who was referred to GMFRS by Pennine Care in July 2015.
The woman also received a visit from GMFRS staff members who fitted smoke alarms and gave potentially life-saving fire safety advice.
Colin Waite, Pennine Care Fire Safety Manager, said: “The partnership between ourselves and GMFRS has been incredibly valuable in helping us to protect those patients at increased risk of fires.
“Our staff are now able to identify those at risk and refer them quickly for a free home visit so they can get the help, advice and equipment they need to be safer in their own homes.
“As part of the partnership GMFRS fire protection officers have received training from Pennine Care regarding the design of hospitals and particularly mental health inpatient units to help them be more prepared in the event of a fire.
“Pennine Care has also introduced a new procedure following arson on its units which has resulted in the successful prosecution of two arsonists over the last 12 months.”
As part of its fire safety week Pennine Care is holding an event on Wednesday, 14 October, from 10am to 4pm at Trust headquarters on Old Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne.
For free advice on how to stay safe and well at home, please call GMFRS on 0800 555 815 or visit www.manchesterfire.gov.uk