A LIFESAVING campaign is being launched to prevent people suffering the devastating effects of fire.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging more organisations to work with them to ensure every vulnerable person in Cheshire is safe from fire.

Working with the most vulnerable people in society is a team effort and, by working with other organisations, firefighters can help and support countless residents who would otherwise be at serious risk of death or injury by fire.

However, data protection can make it hard to access information that can help save lives so the fire service is looking to strike a balance between data protection (protecting personal information) and data sharing.

This is why the service’s prevention team has produced a booklet that is being sent to care homes and registered social landlords across the county to encourage them to refer people about whom they may have concerns to enable firefighters and service advocates to carry out a safe and well visit.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service head of prevention Nick Evans, said: “We are limited by the number of partners who have agreed to share data with us and, under the banner of data protection, we come across many obstacles that make it hard for us to access information that could help us save lives.

"The booklet we have produced uses specific case studies of real people who have needlessly lost their lives to illustrate the effects and cost of fire, cases where early intervention would have made all the difference.

"If we don’t know about a person’s vulnerabilities they may slip through the net unnoticed, and we all have a duty of care and need to share information.”

People within the following groups are examples of those that are most needed to be reached, because incident data over the years has proved that these are the individuals most at risk of dying or being injured in a fire:

• older people (especially those in receipt of domiciliary care)

• smokers

• people with disabilities or mobility issues

• those suffering from mental health problems or dementia

• people affected by the misuse of drugs and alcohol.

The booklet, which also explains how people at heightened risk from fire can be referred for a Safe and Well visit, illustrates the importance of partnership work, especially around data sharing.

The case studies in the leaflet are based on real incidents across Cheshire – the names of those involved have been changed, but the photos included are real photos from the incidents.

Sadly, in each case, an individual lost their life in the fire and better partnership working can stop this from happening again.