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November 4, 2022


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

IoT Fire Safety

Driving the NFCC’s person-centred framework with connected fire technology

With the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) person-centred framework to support home fire safety visits launched earlier this year, FireAngel argues that connected fire technology can play an integral role in the new strategy.

More than 300 people in the UK lost their lives to a fire-related incident in 2020/21. Those aged 65 and over accounted for nearly half of all fatalities. Cognitive and physical impairments that may arise in ageing populations can influence the probability of a fire, fire detection and the ability to extinguish it or evacuate the property.

IoTSmartBuilding-FireSafety-AlamyStock-22The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) recently launched standard data collection requirements to support home fire safety visits and place a heavier focus on individual health, behaviour and needs, so that more at-risk residents are identified and protected.

The Person-Centred Home Fire Safety Visit involves standardised guidance on data quality and collection. Having consistent data across the UK’s fire and rescue services will allow for evidence to be pooled and individual approaches to be directly compared to identify best practices. The more closely the approach is followed, the greater data quality will be across the country, says the NFCC.

Neil Odin, NFCC Prevention Committee Chair and NFCC Prevention Programme Executive, has commented on the initiative: “Ultimately the shift from property to person centred data recording systems, and increased multi-agency working, will greatly assist in addressing fire risk, how to quantify it and what actions need to be taken as part of Home Fire Safety Visits to complement local approaches.

“To generate good quality data, to maximise local and collective learning and to enable continuous improvement over time each fire and rescue service must assess its Home Fire Safety Visit, ideally in a way that is consistent with other fire and rescue services. This enables evidence to be pooled across FRSs, and it also enables individual approaches to be directly compared to identify best practice. The more closely this approach can be followed, the greater the quality of data that can be generated across the country.”

The role of connected fire tech

Proponents of connected fire safety technology believe that such devices can accelerate the NFCC’s digital ambitions and maximise local and collective learning to help fully understand risk and vulnerability in communities.

Nick Rutter, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at FireAngel, explains: “As the Person-Centred Framework continues to be developed, connected technology provides a real opportunity to raise the safety bar and support the NFCC’s data-driven approach.

Nick Rutter, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at FireAngel

“Currently, fire and rescue services rely heavily on upstream referrals from agencies, such as health, ambulance service or housing providers. The introduction of connected systems can be used to gather critical information relating to an individual’s status.

“For example, FireAngel’s technology can show if a tenant’s alarm is triggered frequently due to electrical appliances overheating, food being left in the oven too long, or other common behaviours consistent with a decline in cognitive abilities. This can help identify vulnerable tenants and enable fire and rescue services to promptly rectify any issues in the home environment before they escalate into anything more serious.

“And if a fire does break out, the network can send rapid, detailed alerts – so even if a tenant is unable to call for help themselves, the fire service can be contacted and dispatched at speed.”

FireAngel also highlights the vocal support the NFCC has shown about supporting new technological solutions to improve people’s fire and health outcomes as part of its commitment to making people safer in their homes. The vendor explains that Assistive technology (AT) has long been used as an umbrella term for any device or solution that assists someone’s health and safety while maximising personal independence. AT has been identified as a critical factor in preventing fatalities and injuries for people with chronic health conditions and age-related frailty.

As the NHS and local authorities move towards delivering most of their care provision for people within their own homes rather than sheltered accommodation, AT is becoming increasingly popular, with many Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authority Health and Wellbeing Boards commissioning AT solutions.

Connected fire safety technology can be combined with technologies that are already familiar to many elderly tenants, such as panic buttons or fall detectors to provide holistic support and ensure people can stay in their homes for as long as possible before moving to residential or specialist care. As the person-centred approach to resident safety continues to develop, connected technology can help drive its evolution and ensure more people stay safe and well in their homes.


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