Fire Service And Housing Group In Partnership To Protect Vulnerable People From Blazes

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has teamed up with Incommunities to raise awareness among its staff of how mental health issues can put people at an increased risk of fire in the home.

Both organisations are supporting Mental Health Awareness Week (May 11-17).

WYFRS’ Bradford District Prevention staff attended a launch event at The Quays (Shipley) today.

Members of Incommunities’ Equalities Steering Group were supported by the Fire Service and representatives from The Cellar Trust, a Shipley-based charity and social enterprise that supports people recovering from mental health problems, along with the Shipley Health Food Store.

At the launch, Incommunities and colleagues from the Fire Service shared the success of their partnership work which aims to target customers who, for a variety of reasons, including mental health issues, may be vulnerable to fire risks.

In 2014/15 Incommunities made 830 referrals to the Fire Service, who followed up with individual assessments and offered a variety of preventative measures to reduce risk.

More referral training for housing teams and repair staff is being planned to help prevent vulnerable customers being the victim of fire incidents.

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2015, which is organised by the Mental Health Foundation, is mindfulness.

Area Manager for Fire Safety, Ian Bitcon, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We know that mental health is one of the key issues in relation to fire deaths. An integral part of our prevention policy is working more closely with partner agencies, such as Incommunities, to identify high risk individuals and provide early intervention.

“This initiative will support us in achieving this.”

Greg Robinson, Incommunities Assistant Chief Executive, Resources, said: “We are committed to raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues which have the potential to have such a devastating effect on people’s lives.

“This week, in support of Mental Health Awareness Week, we will be able to increase our awareness of the causes and potential treatment for mental health issues. We will also learn more about the work of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and local partners involved in supporting some of our vulnerable customers and gather a better understanding of mental health issues.”

Further information

Incommunities is the largest social landlord in the Bradford District with nearly 21,000 homes for rent and almost 1,000 leasehold properties.

For more information on Mental Health Awareness Week click http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek/