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Firefighters to protect vulnerable residents from the cold

04 December 2017

GREATER MANCHESTER Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is supporting Public Health England’s (PHE) winter campaign in a bid to help keep communities well and warm during the colder months.

Stay Well This Winter will see fire and rescue staff offering advice to residents across the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester on how to stay warm and healthy while carrying out their routine Safe and Well visits.

The campaign encourages vulnerable people to get their flu jab, which GMFRS is also promoting during face-to-face engagements and on its social media channels. To further spread the message of this year’s PHE campaign, GMFRS is having a number of its vehicles branded.

GMFRS’ director of prevention and protection assistant county fire officer Geoff Harris said: “Years of prevention work across the communities of Greater Manchester has taught us how closely linked fire risk and poor health are.

“Since delivering Safe and Well visits our firefighters and community safety teams have been supporting the public health workforce and it’s great that we can help out our colleagues in the NHS.

“No one should suffer from the cold over the winter – there are lots of ways you can keep warm safely while staying healthy, as well as help those around you.”

GMFRS staff members will be on hand to offer advice to vulnerable residents this winter, but it stresses there are some simple steps you can take to stay safe and help those around you, which include:

  • Encourage vulnerable people, such as older people and pregnant women, to get a flu jab. If you are a parent or carer of a two or three-year-old child then make them an appointment with your GP;
  • Keep your home at 18°C (65°F) or higher if you can;
  • Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating; and
  • Visit your local pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell.

Lord Peter Smith, Chair of Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and portfolio lead for health and social care at Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “Flu season typically starts around November, which is why we want to raise awareness of how people can get a simple flu vaccination through GP surgeries, pharmacies and through schools.

“Last year only just over half of people eligible for a free jab took it up. These are figures we have to change because flu is an extremely serious condition – and in some cases people can die, or be hospitalised with it.”

Further details regarding the Stay Well This Winter campaign can be found at www.nhs.uk/staywell

GMFRS will also be delivering winter warmth bags to Greater Manchester’s most vulnerable elderly residents during the colder months, in line with the Service’s own winter initiative. For more information, visit www.safe4winter.com/