There are clear links between poor health and the risk of fire. That’s why we focus so much of our prevention work on keeping our more vulnerable residents safe and well.

We know that someone’s risk from fire is often linked to things like old age, their mental health, or how much they drink or smoke. By understanding this, and working with health organisations to support vulnerable people, we can stop fires happening in the first place.

Our frontline firefighters and expert prevention staff visit 27,000 homes a year to carry out our ‘Safe and Well’ checks. It’s played a key role in reducing preventable fire deaths and injuries at home over the past decade.

If you’re worried about your or someone else’s fire safety at home, please read the ‘Safe and Well Visits’ section below, give us a free call and we’ll do our very best to help.

When it comes to health and lifestyle, there’s a lot you can do yourself to reduce your risk of a fire at home. Check out our useful links below for more info on healthy eating, exercise, giving up smoking, plus alcohol and drug use.

Safe and Well Visits

Our free ‘Safe and Well’ visits are carried out by our firefighters and have helped to protect thousands of people in the West Midlands from the risk of fire in their home.

The visits have built on what we used to call Home Safety Checks, and include advice to help people improve their health and wellbeing – with the ultimate goal of reducing their risk from fire.

We still assess the physical risks of fire in a home, but now also look at health, social and lifestyle factors. There can be clear links between these and a person’s vulnerability to fire.

A handbook complements the visits, providing information on safety, health and wellbeing. A copy will be left with the household, along with details of any actions or referrals made by the visiting fire crew.

How to arrange a Safe and Well visit

To find out if we can offer you or someone you know a Safe and Well visit, please call us for free on 0800 389 5525.

Visits will be made on an appointment-only basis, at a time convenient for you, and usually take no more than an hour.

Our firefighters will check your home to make sure there are no immediate fire hazards, give you fire safety advice and fit free smoke alarms if needed. With your consent, they’ll also cover a range of other issues and topics:

  • weight, exercise and healthy eating
  • mobility and falls
  • mental health, memory loss and dementia
  • loneliness and social isolation
  • smoking, alcohol, medication and drugs
  • hoarding
  • employment
  • road safety
  • home security

Our staff will usually be wearing uniforms and will be carrying photo ID cards. Always ask to see their identification before you let them in. If in doubt, call us on 0800 389 5525.

Marmot Partnership  

Many fires are preventable, but we know that fire discriminates. That’s why we target our evidence-based prevention work, to focus on the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

We’re very proud to have ‘Marmot Partnership Status’ in recognition of our work tackling health inequalities and people’s risk from fire.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot specialises in the social determinants of health – the factors which affect whether someone lives a long and healthy life.

Sir Michael said: “West Midlands Fire Service clearly recognise the link between the need to keep local people safe and the impact of poverty, deprivation and health inequalities.

“They use their trusted brand to work across the whole community, delivering a wide range of programmes, from inspiring young people experiencing difficulties to engaging with frail elderly and disabled high-risk householders.

“Fires and ill health occur in the more deprived areas, involving people at the bottom of the socio-economic gradient – the homeless, or those living in poor quality housing, whose circumstances have led them to take up unhealthy life styles.

“West Midlands firefighters’ special and trusted role in society places them in the perfect position to deliver interventions that are designed to encourage the development of confident, healthy and resilient communities.”

Useful Links

Hoarding Framework

We’re worked with with Sandwell Council to develop a multi-agency hoarding framework. Providing this pathway maximises the use of existing services and resources, aiming to reduce the need for enforcement action, and includes a single point of referral.

Smokers
Cigarettes and other smoking products cause over a third of all deaths from accidental fire in the home. If you’re a smoker who wants to quit, call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0800 1690169 or visit the Go Smoke Free website .

NHS 111 Service
If you need medical help fast, but it’s not life-threatening, call the NHS on 111 rather than dialling 999. A trained adviser will ask you questions to find out what’s wrong, give you medical advice and direct you to someone who can help you like a doctor or community nurse.

Eat well. Move more. Live longer.
The British Heart Foundation says 70 per cent of the population aren’t sufficiently active to benefit their health.

But small changes to what you eat and how much you exercise can have huge benefits. Find out more at www.bhf.org.uk and www.nhs.uk/change4life

Alcohol
Realising you have a drink problem is the first step to getting better – but it can also be the hardest.

The NHS Choices website has loads of helpful info if you need to cut down on your drinking.

Drug use
In the UK it’s illegal to use, possess, manufacture or supply any controlled substances.

To find out more about the dangers of drug-taking, and advice on how to stop, visit www.talktofrank.com