Regional fire and rescue services
Protecting vulnerable households from CO through established community safety programmes
Our project at a glance
- Strategic priority area: Reducing CO harm
- Support target: 26,000 households per year
- Duration: September 2021 to March 2026
- Investment: £991,110 over five years
- Forecast SROI: £7.64
Working closely with SGN has enabled us to provide vital and potentially lifesaving support to some of the most vulnerable households in our community, addressing health and wellbeing issues as well as reducing the risk of fire in the home.
Prevention Manager, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Why we’re working together
Fire and rescue services have long been embedded in the communities they serve. While different services operate in different regions across the UK, they all have established home safety programmes that see them visit some of the most vulnerable households in our communities.
The home safety programmes, sometimes known as Safe and Well visits, are extremely effective at engaging hard-to-reach and high-risk households, such as older people, people with disabilities and people with chronic health conditions.
The programme also includes other regional community partners who support vulnerable or hard-to-reach communities, such as regional Care and Repair services, food banks, handy van services and the Blue Lamp Trust. These regional community-based organisations often work in a similar way to fire and rescue services as they are trusted in the community and directly support vulnerable households in person.
We’ve established two-way relationships with all 11 fire and rescue services that operate in our network areas, working closely to ensure that vulnerable customers have appropriate safeguards in place. In addition, we now have seven unique partnerships in our southern network and two regional partnerships with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service funding CO safety initiatives that provide access to CO alarms and resources to be installed by trusted home safety prevention teams.
- Educating vulnerable and at-risk households on CO to reduce harm
- Delivering standardised CO training to empower partners to confidently provide CO safety advice
- Installing CO alarms for vulnerable households, including accessible alarms
- Providing additional support services to vulnerable households identified by our community partners
- Measuring the awareness levels of supported households to determine project success
How we’re working together
Partner CO safety training
Through our training partner Gas Safe Charity, we’re providing standardised CO training to our community partners. This training, delivered through the ‘Think CO’ in-person workshops and e-learning packages, empowers frontline workers within our partner organisations to confidently advise vulnerable households on CO safety, as well as identify CO risks during home visits.
Carbon monoxide awareness
Following our recognised CO training, frontline teams are able to educate vulnerable households on the dangers of carbon monoxide. The awareness-raising activity includes explaining the signs and symptoms of CO, prevention measures and what to do if CO is suspected.
CO alarm installation
Funding for CO alarms varies across the UK. Our programme is ensuring that fire and rescue services and community organisations have access to the CO alarms they need to keep households they visit safe. As well as providing alarms, we’re also ensuring our partners receive training to correctly install and set up these alarms.
One of the ways in which our programme is having the greatest impact on vulnerable customers is through the installation of accessible CO alarms. With fire and rescue services and community organisations having little to no provision for accessible CO alarms, our funding ensures that people with hearing or sight impairments are protected from carbon monoxide in their homes with alarms suited to their needs.
Additional support services
When our community partners identify a vulnerable household in need, we’ve established links for frontline workers to refer households to us for tailored additional help. For example, this could see us install a locking cooker valve or register the customer for the PSR. We’re also able to connect households to our network of support services from other organisations, such as Scope or NEA, for further help.
Working in partnership with SGN has allowed us to increase awareness of CO poisoning and support vulnerable individuals we otherwise would not have been able to. We have been provided with CO detectors, translated resources and are now able to promote services which keep vulnerable people in the community safe and warm.