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Safer Together Project launched

8th October 2020

Safer Together Project

Belfast Trust and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service have launched a new partnership called the Safer Together Project.

The Safer Together Project has evolved from collaboration between the Trust and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service over a three-year period with the partnership agreement formally setting out the intention to work together to make their service users safer in their own homes.

Full resources are available on the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service website

The Safer Together Project combines research at Ulster University with the work being carried out by Belfast Trust and Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service to create a bespoke package of resources to increase the fire safety awareness of social workers and service users.

The development of the resources has involved social workers and service users throughout to meet the needs of those working and living in the community. Thanks to funding from the Social Work Strategy this project has been brought to life in the form of educational videos, risk aide memoirs, leaflets and safety devices all aimed at assisting and supporting social workers and service users to reduce fire risk in the community.

Following a number of incidents in the Belfast area, Belfast Trust Senior Social Work Practitioner Connor Breen and Station Commander Michael Roberts from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service worked together to set referral pathways in place to link both agencies. Fire safety training was delivered to social workers in the community and firefighters were informed about the work of Older Peoples’ Services and they also received Dementia Awareness training. Older Peoples’ Day was held at Central Fire Station in Belfast when over one hundred older service users were invited to have a day of fun and activities and also receive some vital fire safety information.

Research has highlighted that people aged 60 and over, are over-represented in fatal fire statistics in Northern lreland. Recent studies at Ulster University have identified that those working with older people could be useful in reducing fire risk in the homes they visit in the community. Since 2014, research at Ulster University has been carried out by Peter Cassidy who is also a Crew Commander in Prevention & Protection at Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. The aim of the research is to design and evaluate educational resources to reduce fire risk among older people in Northern Ireland.