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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Fire Service Trains Police

All of Hanley's 60 Police Community Support Officers are to receive specialist training from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to help identify and support vulnerable people.

Training will be delivered under the Service’s Olive Branch initiative by Donna Broadhead, Watch Manager at Hanley Fire Station.

"This initiative has a positive impact on people’s lives as it provides them with a sense of security in their home."

Donna Broadhead, Watch Manager, Hanley Station

The project launched in June 2007 following the death of pensioner Olive Simcock following a blaze in her home.

Olive Branch provides training for people who, through their work, enter the homes of vulnerable people.

It helps them to identify signs of fire risk and investigate whether the property has a smoke alarm. Individuals living in properties where there is an identifiable risk are then referred to the Fire Service who will conduct a FREE Home Fire Risk Check on the building and fit smoke alarms where necessary.

Hundreds of social care and health workers have been trained by the Service to assess fire safety risks when they go into homes in the past three years.

"Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are the eyes and ears of the community and they, of everyone, will know who is vulnerable," said Donna.

"Training has already been delivered to voluntary groups in the area and we thought this would be a good group to target next.

"Since Olive Branch was launched more than 1,000 people across the Staffordshire have received essential fire safety support.

"This initiative has a positive impact on people's lives as it provides them with a sense of security in their home.

"Sometimes, just knowing help is available can make all the difference."

The first of five training sessions for PCSOs takes place on Tuesday, February 2nd at Hanley Fire Station on Lower Bethesda Street.

Kelvin Potts, at Staffordshire Police's Northern Learning and Development Unit, said: "We are very pleased to be involved in partnership working projects like this which will directly benefit the communities of Stoke on Trent.

"The training will provide PCSOs with the knowledge and skills to be able to offer advice in relation to fire safety to some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

"Where necessary it will also help them make further referrals to other agencies if required."