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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Emergency services team up to protect the vulnerable

The Welsh Ambulance Service has partnered with fire and rescue services to launch a new initiative to better protect vulnerable people at risk of an accident in their home.

The new system allows ambulance crews to e-refer at-risk patients to their fire and rescue service counterparts in North, Mid and West and South Wales for a Safe and Well check.

Fire crews can then visit the property to mitigate any risks.

Nikki Harvey, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Safeguarding, said: “Ambulance crews go to a patient’s property to deliver medical interventions, but often while they’re there, they’ll spot things in the home which raise a red flag.

“It could be that there isn’t a smoke alarm, that electrical sockets are overloaded or that there’s a build-up of fat on cooking appliances, all of which present a fire hazard.

“It could be that the patient has cigarette burns on their clothes or furniture, or that the patient’s hoarding has blocked an escape route.

“The new referral form – which our crews complete on an iPad – streamlines the process completely and makes it easier than ever before to enlist the support of fire service colleagues and safeguard that patient.

“Anything that we can do collectively to improve patient safety, mitigate the risk of accidents and prevent harm could reduce 999 calls in the future.”

Tim Owen, Community Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, on behalf of the three Welsh fire and rescue services, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service and the regional fire services in Wales work together operationally every day.

“This agreement will enable us to extend this work, identifying those most at risk and vulnerable in our communities to make them safer.

“The sharing of information will enable us to develop the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, targeting our services to those in most need of support.

“It will also provide a template for promoting future joint working.”

If you are aware of a vulnerable person in your community who would benefit from a Safe and Well check, please contact your local fire and rescue service.

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