Fire as a Health Asset is a national initiative by Fire and Rescue Services, utilising their unique skillset to support their colleagues in health. The work under the Fire as a Health Asset umbrella is wide and varied, encompassing both preventive and response approaches. Every fire and rescue service in the UK has developed their own Fire as A Health Asset strategy depending on the needs of their local population.
The NHS Five Year Forward View highlights the need for an increased focus on integration and prevention so that resources are utilised more effectively, outcomes are improved, and demand is reduced. It also recognises the need to broaden and deepen the involvement of the third sector in developing solutions.
Demand for health and social care is rising due to an increase in the numbers of children and adults with long-term conditions, alongside an ageing population. Fire and rescue services recognise the resulting health and wellbeing challenges faced by health and other public services.
At the same time, the number of fires has decreased due to preventative work by fire and rescue services and regulatory measures. This has resulted in new opportunities for the fire and rescue services to complement and further support the health and social care sector, reducing risk to residents and demand for services.
In 2014, NHS England, Public Health England, Local Government Association, Chief Fire Officers Association, and Age UK produced a multi-agency consensus statement on ‘Improving Health and Wellbeing’.
This consensus statement describes the intent to work together to encourage joint strategies for intelligence-led early intervention and prevention; ensuring people with complex needs get the personalised, integrated care and support they need to live full lives, sustaining their independence for longer. Read the consensus statement here.
There are many wonderful examples of how each fire and rescue service has approached this initiative, leading to a diverse range of innovative programmes. These include:
For more information, visit our Case Studies page.