Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and NHS North Staffordshire have joined forces to protect families and their homes from smoke.
The aim of the venture is to reduce the number of accidental fires in the home caused by smoking materials and to help smokers to quit smoking by accessing the local stop smoking support services. The partnership will allow Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and NHS North Staffordshire to work jointly to identify those most at risk within the community and to provide interventions at the point of contact.
"Nationally someone dies every three days in their home from a smoking related incident."
Mick Daniels, Assistant Area Commander, Newcastle
To help launch the initiative joint banners have been produced and provided by NHS North Staffordshire and these will be displayed at all eight of the Community Fire Stations within the North Staffordshire area (Newcastle and the Moorlands) This also coincides with National No Smoking Day on the 10th March.
Assistant Area Commander for Newcastle Mick Daniels said "This is a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference by improving safety in the home of those who do smoke and to improve the quality of their and their family’s lives.
"Nationally someone dies every three days in their home from a smoking related incident. This year already in the Newcastle area we have tragically experienced one fatal fire and three other fires caused by careless disposal of smoking materials."
As part of the initiative, training has been provided to local stop smoking advisors so that they can refer clients for a free Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC). Fire Service personnel who are delivering Home Fire Risk Checks will also be undertaking smoking cessation brief intervention training and will be able to refer occupiers to the local stop smoking service when appropriate.
All Fire Service personnel will be carrying the local stop smoking service cards to issue for referral.
Helen Jones the Tobacco Control Co-ordinator for NHS North Staffordshire said "17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital every year as a result of secondhand smoke, which is approximately 50 children every day. That's why we would like to encourage people to quit smoking, or at least to smoke outside to protect their family from the dangers of secondhand smoke."
NHS North Staffordshire are providing new support sessions to encourage smokers to quit. These free, weekly support sessions are running at Milehouse Primary Care Centre, Lymebrook Way, Newcastle-under-Lyme every Monday from 3.30pm to 6.30pm, at Leek Health Centre, Fountain Street, Leek every Tuesday from 3.30pm to 6.00pm, and at The Midway Medical and Walk In Centre, Morston House, The Midway, Newcastle-under-Lyme every Friday from 3.30pm to 6.30pm.
No appointment is necessary and smokers are invited to call in for an informal, relaxed chat about what help is available to help them quit. Trained advisors will be on hand to give free help and advice, along with practical support and tips on how to give up smoking, as well as access to stop smoking medicines, such as patches and gum, for the price of a prescription.
And with the help of the NHS North Staffordshire Stop Smoking Service, smokers are up to four times more likely to quit, than if they go it alone.