Following the transfer of public health duties to local government, fire and rescue services are now working in partnership with councils to help combat a range of health and wellbeing issues including cot deaths, drug and alcohol abuse, fuel poverty and housing problems.
Firefighters across England are being asked to support vulnerable people with issues relating to dementia, mental health, domestic abuse, social isolation, childhood obesity and youth unemployment.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents all 49 fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) in England and Wales and more than 370 local councils, has produced a report called ‘Beyond Fighting Fires – The role of the fire and rescue service in improving the public’s health‘.
The report catalogues work by a number of fire services across England, covering both rural and urban environments and with varying levels of deprivation and affluence. It highlights the impact FRAs are having in tackling health inequalities in collaboration with other public services.
In Norfolk and Suffolk fire crews have helped overweight teenagers become more active by taking part in eight-week activity and nutrition courses. And throughout the country more than half of the fire authorities have now signed up to the Dementia Friends initiative, with a view to all FRAs joining the scheme over the coming years.
The report can be downloaded here.