Working with the fire service as part of the wider public health workforce

Ruth Breese RD, a Community Dietitian in South Warwickshire, worked with her local fire service to include nutrition and hydration as part of “Safe and Well Visits”.

Fire services across the UK make over 600,000 home visits each year, specifically targeted towards vulnerable people. In recent years, they’ve expanded beyond fire safety to include public health issues, taking advantage of the trusted position firefighters enjoy.

Ruth worked to develop a process that would allow firefighters to identify under- and over-nutrition and dehydration, and then signpost people to appropriate support.

This could include local community cafes, or weight reduction services. She drew on her experience training staff in care settings and other areas to plan and deliver this training. The training was delivered alongside the local falls prevention team, to maximise impact.

The training was commissioned by the local public health team, and forms part of their Making Every Contact Count programme.

Work is now ongoing to develop online training which firefighters will be able to complete in sections.