Adrian Scaife, UK Product Marketing Manager, discusses the recent news that fire services across England will expand their support for the NHS and care services. 

A few months ago I asked what Falls Services could learn from the Fire Services partly because of the observation that the differences in trend and numbers of deaths from fires and falls are so stark.

ONS Deaths registered in England and Wales

I was, therefore, delighted to read over the weekend that the NHS, the Chief Fire Officers Association, Public Health England, and the Local Government Association last week agreed a consensus statement which will act as a blueprint for fire services across England to expand their significantly support for the NHS and care services.

Mr. Stevens (Chief Executive of NHS England) told The Independent on Sunday: The NHS has a golden opportunity to piggyback off the fire service’s vital 670,000 home-safety visits, to help prevent falls, broken hips and hospital admissions. This is precisely the kind of joint working between local public services that makes sense for patients and saves money for taxpayers.”

A two stage strategy of minimising the probability and then minimising the consequences i.e. through the use of smoke detectors (telecare where required) has led to the number of emergency call-outs being halved in the past 10 years and a decreasing trend in the number of deaths from fires.

Any additional help in reducing falls can’t come soon enough as a report also from last week revealed that 1 in 40 hospital beds are occupied by someone who has had a hip fracture, totaling an average daily 4,000 inpatient bed days as the result of 64,000 hip fractures in 2014.(Of course this doesn’t include all the people in hospital as a result of a fall who didn’t fracture their hip.)

For people admitted from their own home, success in returning them home within 30 days has improved from 52.9% in 2013 to 53.7% in 2014.

The Fire and Rescue Service has been incredibly successful in moving from a responsive to an interventionist service and demonstrating how prevention can truly make a difference. I am looking forward to seeing how by working with local stakeholders, such as CCG’s and Social Care, local fire services can be even more effective in improving local neighbourhoods.