County council and fire service team up to keep vulnerable residents safe

Protecting the county’s most vulnerable residents in their homes is the driver behind a new initiative between the fire service and county council in Cambridgeshire.

An online risk assessment checklist has been created on the county council website and call-takers in the contact centre are inviting callers requesting one of their services to complete the form to see if they qualify for a free home fire safety check by the fire service.

The form is on the county council website and anyone can access it, not just those calling the county council contact centre.

Sitting behind the form is a risk matrix which calculates a person’s individual score from the information they give. The score then determines what support the individual will receive from the fire service. This may include information sent by post or a specific visit from fire service staff. 

Paul Clarke, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Adult Safety Risk Manager, explained: "Community safety remains a key priority for us and we are always seeking new ways to identify those most at risk from fires in their homes. Although the number of people who die in house fires is low in Cambridgeshire, those we do sadly have are typically elderly residents who have other issues that make them vulnerable such as mobility issues or mental illness such as dementia or hoarding. These residents also use the services of our colleagues in different agencies and so working together like this we can identify more people that we can assist and reduce their risk from fire.” 

Paul added: “We are very grateful to Cambridgeshire County Council for developing our risk assessment to a web based form. We’ve already received over 35 referrals and the majority of these have resulted in home visits.” 

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mike Tew, Chairman of the Adults Committee at the Council, said: “This is already proving to be a fantastic initiative as we are helping our colleagues in the fire service assist vulnerable people who they would not have otherwise been aware of. Our contact centre staff are proactively directing callers to the online form and on our website we link to it from other online forms residents use.

“Not all residents are aware of all the different services available to them to help them live safely and independently in their homes and it is beneficial to us all that we work together to make sure individuals are safe not just in one area but receive all the help they can.”

You can find the form here or for more information about what a home fire safety click here.