Hundreds of vulnerable Telecare users have been helped and supported by West Midlands firefighters.
Crews have been responding to non-emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week since The City of Wolverhampton Council commissioned the fire service to provide its mobile Telecare response service in April this year.
It sees trauma-trained firefighters responding quickly to non-emergency calls – such as minor falls – from Telecare users across the city. Already, firefighters have responded to more than 700 calls, and on many occasions they have been able to use their training to prevent the service user having to go to hospital.
Telecare is a system designed to help vulnerable people or those with disabilities to remain independent for longer. It offers a range of sensors and detectors within the home, including smoke and flood alarms, temperature control sensors and trip and fall detectors, all of which alert the council if there is a problem.
It also includes automated pill dispensers to assist people to take their required doses of medicine and pendant alarms which they can use to call for help.
The council’s Telecare control centre assesses each call to determine the appropriate level of response. If the service user has had a fall but is not injured, the council calls us to attend in one of our Brigade Response Vehicles.
As well as checking on the individual, getting them back on their feet and offering minor first aid where needed, firefighters carry out a Safe and Well Check. These have already helped protect thousands of people throughout the West Midlands from the risk of fire in their home and also includes advice about improving their health and wellbeing.
Emergency calls continue to be responded to by the ambulance, police or fire service as required, but due to the new mobile response service, barely 10% of non-emergency callouts have resulted in an ambulance being required, well below previous levels.
Councillor Sandra Samuels OBE, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “Telecare is an important way of helping older and vulnerable people to live independently in their own home for longer. It also gives relatives, some of whom live many miles away, the peace of mind that if something does go wrong help is on hand.
“We are delighted that we have been able to team up with West Midlands Fire Service to provide this vital responder provision.
“It is already having a very positive effect, and on many occasions firefighters have been able to use their first aid and trauma training to determine that service users didn’t need to be taken to Accident and Emergency.
“This is another excellent example of public sector organisations working together to improve services to the people of Wolverhampton.”
Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer for West Midlands Fire Service, said: “Being commissioned to provide this type of work provides a fantastic opportunity to help the most vulnerable members of our community by allowing them to remain independent in their homes and to improve their health and wellbeing.
“We will also reduce risk by providing our comprehensive Safe and Well checks to people that really need them and help reduce hospital admissions.”