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Protecting people from avoidable fires

I'm looking forward to talking about this on BBC Berkshire just after 5pm

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Reading Borough Council” <>
Date: 16 Feb 2016 13:00
Subject: Joint Agency Work to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Avoidable Fires
To: <>

Joint Agency Work to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Avoidable Fires

Reading Borough Council Press Release

Care workers, carers and people that work in the care sector are receiving new training in a bid to keep vulnerable residents safe from the risk of fire.

A new joint-initiative is now in action with Reading Council working closely with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) and the local NHS to keep vulnerable adults safe.

The initiative comes in the light of several recent potentially avoidable fire deaths, a predicted increase in adult care demand, combined with a significant rise in those suffering with dementia.

In response, the council’s adult safeguarding team has been at the forefront of co-ordinating the multi-agency work to share best practice, resources and training, with the aim of promoting safety and minimising fire risk.

There has been a big drive on awareness training, information and resources for staff involved in care of adults in the community.

The aim of new training is to help workers identify who is more at risk; to know what protection measures and fire prevention equipment is available, and to provide guidance on when and how to make a referral to the Fire Service.

Vulnerable adults are often more at risk from fire in the home. Those more at risk include people who:

  • are over 65 years of age
  • live alone
  • have mental health issues (including dementia or memory loss)
  • have mobility difficulties or sensory needs (hearing loss or visual impairments)
  • suffer from alcohol or drugs dependency
  • have a learning disability
  • have evidence of previous fires at their property
  • are smokers – in association with one or more of the vulnerability indicators above will significantly increase the risk of fire

If the person falls into one or more of these categories they are likely to be a priority for referral to the Fire Service.

RBFRS is providing training to care workers, enabling them to carry out a fire risk assessment of the resident’s home.

There is a range of assistive technologies available designed to support an individual identified as potentially more vulnerable from fire, allowing them to remain independent in their own homes. The equipment available ranges from flame retardant nightwear and bedding, to safety ashtrays and cooker guards. In some locations sprinklers can be installed.

Reading’s Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care, Rachel Eden, said:

“I’m pleased the council, our local Fire Service and NHS partners are working together to help protect our most vulnerable residents against the risk of fire. The Fire Service has already highlighted Reading’s joint approach as an example of good practice they would like others in the area to consider.

“We can all play a part in looking out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours who may be more at risk. By carrying out safety checks and installing simple fire safety devices, we can help save lives.”

Iain Harrison, Group Manager for Prevention at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“We are delighted to be working with Reading Borough Council and the NHS on this initiative, which we hope will be instrumental in reducing the numbers of incidents involving vulnerable adults.

“Working in partnership in this way has given us access to a wide range of service providers who work with the more vulnerable members of our community. We have been delivering training and resources to these providers to help them gain a better understanding of the fire risks faced by vulnerable people and the measures that can be put in place to overcome them. The feedback for this to date has been really positive and we are really pleased that it has been so well received.

“A major challenge for us is the ability to identify who these vulnerable individuals are and where they live. Once identified, with their consent we can support their independent living through a range of services, including Home Fire Safety Checks and assistive technology where appropriate and supported by partner agencies.

“We would urge anyone who cares for, or is a friend or relative of, a vulnerable adult to contact us, as we can help them to reduce their risk of fire in the home.”

For more information, visit and select the Home Fire Safety Check icon.


Notes for Editors:

Reading Borough Council Press Releases can be found online at

Media Contact: Victoria Buckett
Tel: 0118 937 3957

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