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Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to extend EEAST partnership

On the 1 April 2021 a new joint safeguarding partnership will launch between Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) and EEAST Ambulance Service which is the first of its kind in the region.

EEAST are in a privileged position by entering properties at the point of an emergency call. They are also able to quickly assess if a person has addition needs apart from the medical emergency reason for the call. This new joint initiative will enable direct referrals to be sent securely to BFRS via a single point of contact.  This will enable us to complete Safe & Well visits in order to improve patient safety for vulnerable people who may be at higher risk of injury or death in fire and support targeted risk reduction.

Ambulance crews currently use a well-established pathway to BFRS, which has led to successful Safe & Well visits being delivered and safety equipment being fitted to reduce the risk of Fire, to a range of vulnerable patients that EEAST have attended. 

Anna Price, Named Professional for Safeguarding for EEAST said; “We are really proud to be working alongside BFRS to roll out this referral pathway for our most vulnerable. This means our patients can have additional support from a direct referral from our crews/volunteers at the point of emergency call. We are confident that this will be successful and look forward to seeing the results.”

This new partnership is a natural progression for this work. Homes, Roads and Leisure Safety Manager, Stuart Auger said; “One of the barriers to referrals being made from EEAST to us, was the reliance on Ambulance crews being able to recognise the fire risks without adequate training and possibly missing opportunities. This new safeguarding single point of contact will act as a safety net and ensure that the referrals they receive from Ambulance crews are checked for key words which heighten fire risk, for example; lives alone, elderly, frail, smoker, hoarder, using oxygen etc. The Safeguarding contact will then make the referral to us as part of their assessment.” 

This will be an automatic referral at the point of the call from the frontline Ambulance crew to the safeguarding contact. Having this pathway in place will also mean crews can make a referral for other reasons like a fall and ensure greater access to these vulnerable patients who are deemed to be at greater risk.

Stuart went on to say; “This is a great example of partnership working to reduce risks to our communities. With our excellent working relationship with EEAST and our seconded staff, we can really start to get the messages out to frontline Ambulance crews and provide better safety advice and support for these vulnerable groups.”