Work continuing to protect elderly and vulnerable people during Covid-19 outbreak

Protection officer at work, getting in contact with nursing and care homes

Work to protect the elderly and vulnerable in the community from fire is continuing thanks to the efforts of Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS).

The service’s Protection department, which works with businesses and managed housing providers to minimise fire risk, is continuing its contact with care and nursing homes to ensure its residents remain safe.

The team of Protection officers this week started making telephone contact with each of the county’s nursing, care homes and sheltered housing providers.
By phone, they are seeking to find out if any of these organisations have any fire safety concerns and, where possible, review the risk remotely by photo or video.

If a property has a very serious risk of fire, these high risk locations will then be visited, with caution to avoid any potential virus spread.

Protection Manager Scott Richards said: “Although we are currently having to dial back on our proactive work, we are keen to let people know that we are still doing whatever possible to help protect the vulnerable from potential fire risk.

“We are very much here to take action on fire risk when it is identified and we also welcome approaches from businesses and housing providers if they don’t want to wait to be contacted and would rather seek out our advice on an urgent fire issue.

“The Covid-19 outbreak also potentially poses care and nursing homes with staffing issues, which is important to us as we know a certain number of trained staff have to be on site to carry out fire evacuations properly. If any providers are worried about this, then they should contact us urgently.”

Last year the team carried out more than 800 full fire safety inspections at properties ranging from hotels and restaurants to houses of multiple occupation owned by landlords.

Due to the social distancing and isolation measures being brought in to cope with the current Covid-19 outbreak, NFRS has scaled back its face to face fire protection work with communities in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

But teams are working on ways in which this advice and contact can be maintained using other methods.

Mr Richards said: “Once every three to five years we will do a full inspection of these types of buildings, but as physical inspections aren’t possible at the moment, we are keen to reassure the public we are still offering advice and doing whatever we can to help keep people safe during these challenging times.”

To contact NFRS, ring 01604 797000 and ask to speak to the Protection department or email fireprotection@northantsfire.gov.uk

NFRS is still responding to emergencies as normal. In the event of a fire remember to get out, stay out and call 999.

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