Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has won three awards for work to help to protect vulnerable people in the community through data-sharing.
The awards were presented as a new publication is launched to encourage data sharing among agencies across Merseyside to help identify those who may be at a higher risk of a fire occurring in their home.
The publication is called “Dying for Data – Reducing Fire Deaths in Merseyside” and agencies who may already work, or have contact with people who are more vulnerable, are asked to help to make the people they are aware of safer by emailing Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service to discuss sharing information at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The iNetwork presented the The Excellence In Information Sharing And Security Award (EISS) to Deb Appleton, Director of Strategy and Performance at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, and representatives from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), who worked together on the project. The award recognises the data-sharing work with the National Health Service to identify and highlight vulnerable people. These people were also presented with the iNetwork Overall Best Innovation Award at the same event.
A few days later, the two fire and rescue services won another award for the same work, this time from the NHS.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “These awards shows an element of some of the excellent prevention work we do throughout the year, striving to make people safer in our communities. Over the past decade we have significantly reduced the number of accidental fire deaths and injuries across Merseyside.
“Our free Home Fire Safety Checks and the proactive installation of more than 800,000 smoke alarms has made a major contribution to home safety and we know there are people alive today who would not have been had it not been for this campaign.
“The Service now provides a more targeted approach to home fire safety, focusing our resources on the most at risk and hardest to reach. Vulnerable people often live in deprived areas, but can live anywhere on Merseyside. Through no fault of their own, lifestyle and health issues can also put people into our ‘at risk’ categories.
“By not sharing data I believe we leave vulnerable people exposed to unnecessary risk and harm. We want to play our part in our collective ‘Duty of Care’ and to do that we need to share information.
Deb Appleton, Director of Strategy and Performance at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We have developed a ‘Vulnerable Person Index’ which helps us focus the work of our fire crews and specialist prevention staff on the people who need our assistance most.
“But the success of our Vulnerable Person Index is entirely dependent on other organisations being willing to share information to protect the vulnerable people who use their services. We understand that sharing personal information sometimes causes concern and that there is a balancing act between data protection and data sharing.
“We have built up strong partnerships with some key organisations but we believe there is still more that can be done. We have extensive experience and expertise in managing and sharing sensitive information safely and securely.”
Pictured:: Deb Appleton, Director of Strategy and Performance at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, front left, and Group Manager Gary Oakford, who leads the Prevention directorate at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, (front right ). Behind them are members of the Strategy and Performance Team who have worked on the Vulnerable Person Index and project which won the awards and Joanne Henderson fron the Home Safety Team at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (second from the right).Picture: MF&RS