The initiative operates throughout Renfrewshire and is led by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), closely supported by Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board (GGCHB) Rehabilitation and Enablement Services and the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.
Through the development of an appropriate and effective Information Sharing Protocol (ISP), the initiative supports the home fire safety of individuals dependent on the use of oxygen at home. The partnership ensures the delivery of a structured and meaningful service, from initial provision and usage of oxygen to the delivery of appropriate and actioned fire risk assessments. The initiative takes into consideration and works to fulfil the safety needs of a specific community group, who it is recognised can be experience increased social isolation, physical frailty and vulnerability within their homes.
Local SFRS identified significant challenges in the collation and maintenance of accurate records for individuals supported by oxygen therapy within the home. Without knowing the details of all those individuals who had oxygen at home, the overview that Fire Service Command and Control had in terms of the fire risks associated with the presence of volatile oxygen containers was limited. This restricted information impacted on the ability of local SFRS to offer wellbeing support (for example Home Fire Safety visits) to identified oxygen users and their wider family network. It also impacted on the provision of ‘real time’ deployment of fire crews and the risk assessments they make for homes where oxygen is present.
The scale of the issue only became clear after lengthy negotiation and the establishment of a formal ISP with GGCHB Rehabilitation and Enablement Services. At that point, SFRS only had a record of 10% of people using oxygen services at home within Renfrewshire. The initiative allowed for SFRS records to be updated and then reviewed on a monthly basis to maintain real time, accurate information to be stored.
The overall aim of the initiative was to achieve a closer working protocol with primary partners to deliver structured and sustainable links that support local community safety and wellbeing.
The objectives of the initiative are:
Delivery of the initiative began with the agreement of GGCHB Rehabilitation and Enablement team to provide their entire list of oxygen users to SFRS. This had been previously discussed and authorised by each specific service user prior to being released, ensuring community approval and individual buy in to the process as well as compliance with data protection regulations. This provided SFRS with an opportunity for direct engagement with the community and a route for follow up contact. All Rehabilitation and Enablement staff were then given fire awareness training with a specific discussion around home oxygen usage risks. An information guide focussing on the early identification of risk was issued to all operational partners, including SFRS personnel.
The impact and effectiveness of the initiative is discussed at monthly partnership meetings, with a particular emphasis on reviewing the governance of shared data. This ensures that outcomes are structured, that action being taken is relevant and focussed, and that operational staff can be part of the evaluation process.
Development of the initiative was initially viewed as problematic due to the perceived data sharing issues between partners, despite many service users in the community being supported by multiple service providers. The initiative highlighted the clear need for a more defined approach to information sharing within well-defined and legal parameters. Once the ISP was established, service providers acknowledged the importance of such partnerships in the provision of a more aligned and joined up service to vulnerable community groups.
Information Sharing Protocol Partners:
Group Manager, Head of Prevention and Protection
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service,