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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Partners Help Save Local Man


A 97 year-old man has avoided serious harm when his bin caught fire thanks to the installation of assisted technology which was arranged as part of Lichfield District Strategic Partnership’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ initiative.

"Just five months after having the assisted technology installed Arthur had a small fire but thanks to the technology, help arrived quickly."

Let’s Work Together Project Manager, Carmel Warren

Arthur lives alone in Lichfield and in December last year PCSO Liane Haddock from Staffordshire Police requested a Home Fire Risk Check from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

During the Home Fire Risk Check, firefighters discovered some concerns about Arthur’s safety, including lighting his pipe using lit paper from the fire. Arthur’s hearing was also very poor, making communication for him challenging.

Staff from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Social Care and Health, Police and others met with Arthur’s family who agreed that the current Lifeline should be changed to one which would be connected to assisted technology straight away. This was all completed by January 2011 and meant that in the event of a fire and if Arthur was unable to press his pendant, the alarms would automatically activate and alert the emergency services. This is in addition to a mains powered alarm which he could hear but may not know how to respond to quickly.

On May 3rd 2011, Lichfield firefighters were called to Arthur’s house following an accidental bin fire caused by disposal of smoking materials into a bin containing waste paper. Arthur suffered from some smoke inhalation however his assisted technology had automatically operated and alerted the fire service immediately to the call.

Let’s Work Together Project Manager, Carmel Warren said: "When we first visited Arthur we were concerned about Arthur’s safety.  We took immediate action alongside Social Care and Health to liaise with Arthur’s family on the best way to help keep Arthur safe in his home as he was keen to keep his independence. Just five months after having the assisted technology installed Arthur had a small fire but thanks to the technology, help arrived quickly and firefighters rescued Arthur from the sofa right next to the bin fire before it had a chance to spread.

"We urge family, friends and carers of older people to take the time to assess the living situations of our most vulnerable people and if you think they need some assistance we are here to help. If in doubt, it costs nothing to call us on 0800 0241 999 to talk about or arrange a free Home Fire Risk Check and we will come out to the property at a convenient time and date."

Staffordshire County Councillor Matthew Ellis, Cabinet Member for Adults’ Wellbeing, said: “This is an excellent example of how public services are working collaboratively and using modern technology to help older people to live as independently as possible in their own homes.

"People like Arthur are entitled to their pleasures such as a pipe, but I want to ensure that public services continue to work together to make sure they do it as safely as possible. In this case assistive technology helped ensure a happy outcome that could have had far more serious consequences in the past."

Inspector Jed White, Local Policing Team Commander for Lichfield said: "The safety of vulnerable residents like Arthur is a key concern for Staffordshire Police and our partners.

"Through ‘Let’s Work Together’ we are able to identify people who are most at risk and offer practical, co-ordinated support to those who needs it most."