Prevention, Protection and Health Conference - Opening

Opening the PPH conference NFCC Prevention Lead, Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service outlined the importance of prevention: it is a duty to ensure NFCC actively deliver prevention strategies - 60% of people who die in house fire are dead before 999 call – a statistic that demonstrates why prevention is key to reducing fire deaths.

A small number of risk factors are prominent in fire deaths –  including age, mental health, alcohol and smoking.  It is often the most vulnerable that are at the highest risk. In many cases, partner agencies have had contact with the person before a fire incident takes place; this is why collaborative working is so important to NFCC’s ongoing prevention work.

NFCC’s prevention work stream brings together key experts to reduce fire risk in the home, on the roads and water. This includes work with young people to improve their life chances so they are safer, stronger and resilient.

Mark Hardingham NFCC Protection and Business Safety lead and Chief Fire Officer of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service referenced the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire. He outlined how the work of the NFCC can shape the future of protection and with the upcoming public inquiry and changes to building regulations, many of the objectives of the protection committee will be underpinned by the response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

The outputs of the NFCC is linked to the input of industry experts who devote their time and effort to this work.

Ged Devereux – NFCC Strategic Health Lead highlighted how inequalities in some of the most disadvantaged communities make them at highest unnecessary risk. It is key NFCC continues to understand these risks and the needs of these highest risk communities to provide solutions, which will be lead not just by the fire and rescue service, but by fire services working with partner agencies.

The work of the health coordination committee is only as strong and those who are involved in the work. Data sharing and learning, collaboration at political and local level is crucial to build upon and continue to strengthen that collaboration.

Successful projects have already been delivered and cannot remain in isolation but should be shared and learnt.

Mental Health remains an area the NFCC will continue to build upon. We must further understand the link between mental health and fire risk.

Prevention across the life course is central to future work – we provide information and advice at all ages. This is a long term goal as some intervention can take up to 20 years for the results to be evidenced. Messages to younger people are crucial - education at an early age can be prevention for the future.

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