We are committed to the strategy that prevention is more effective and cheaper than cure. We invest heavily in targeted prevention and protection activities to drive down the number of fires, deaths, injuries and road traffic collisions in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Our dedicated prevention teams continue to work alongside their local communities and with partner organisations to keep our communities as safe as possible. They focus on those target groups at risk and prevent accidents through education and intervention.
We have moved to an enhanced intelligent targeting approach for our prevention activities. The ‘Three Tiers of Measures’ will ensure we support those most at risk within our communities. Crucially we continue to develop our understanding and knowledge of the factors causing health inequalities and how these factors also contribute to individual vulnerability from fire. This helps us to target our Safe and Well visits which involves a firefighter or service technician visiting people in their homes to give fire safety advice, discuss escape routes and fit free life saving equipment such as smoke alarms. We deliver approximately 29,000 Safe and Well visits each year.
We are delivering the S.A.f.E.R project in conjunction with Age UK during the winter months. The project is driven by the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association (CFOA) alongside our partners from the local councils, police and voluntary sector. The required outcomes were to reduce Accident and Emergency admissions and Winter Deaths primarily in older more vulnerable individuals. The targeted intelligent approach aimed to find, help and support vulnerable people. Data was utilised intelligently to pinpoint at risk individuals in local areas.
A ‘Safe and Well’ visit is conducted by us introducing the link to Age UK and associated Services. The key goal was to maintain independent living for as long as possible. The initiative was in operation in targeted areas of the county. An example of how the scheme has improved residents’ quality of life include a woman who had become isolated in her home due to being in a wheelchair. She was assessed with the view to having wheelchair ramps fitted outside her property to allow her to come and go safely.
We have an issue with deliberate grass and bin fires during the summer months, particularly during the school holidays. To combat this we run our ‘Flames Aren’t Games’ campaign each year. We educate young people on the consequences of deliberately setting fires with the aim of reducing the number of these incidents we attend. We work with partners to provide diversionary activities to keep young people occupied during the summer holidays to help prevent grass fires. There was a reduction in deliberate grass fires of 30% in 2015 compared to 2014. We hope to reduce this further in 2016.
The reduction of Road Traffic Collisions (RTC’s) is a key performance indicator for us. Statistics show that young drivers are at a much higher risk of being involved in a collision than older drivers. We therefore deliver a hard-hitting road safety programme aimed at young drivers. Our ‘Fatal Four’ presentation highlights the four most common mistakes made by young drivers which result in death or life-changing injuries. These include speeding, using a mobile phone whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt and driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
Once the presentation is complete they sit in a modified vehicle which simulates a road traffic collision allowing young people to experience first-hand what it would be like. A DVD is played and the actors featured make a variety of mistakes which result in a road traffic collision. The vehicle is kitted out with state of the art equipment and is designed to have its doors removed. This helps to demonstrate procedures used by firefighters. The idea is that the simulation will have a long-lasting impact on teenagers, resulting in a reduction in the number of young people experiencing a road traffic collision in real life.
Our service bi-annual Family Day will take place in September this year. This event is an opportunity for members of the community to gain a real insight into the wide range of work that the fire and rescue service carries out. Visitors can learn more about fire safety in the home and a Safe and Well visit. Our crews a carry out a variety of daring demonstrations including fire house rescues and car crash extrications and a fleet of emergency vehicles from the Service are on display.
A range of partner organisations also have stands.