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Occupational Therapist creates national CPD resource

Rebecca stands in front of a fire engine

Rebecca Sandy, Senior Occupational Therapist, currently seconded with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, has worked with partners across fire services to develop a new and innovative CPD resource to reduce the risk of accidental fires in the home.

People who are at a higher risk of being affected by an accidental home fire often share common characteristics such as being in receipt of health and social care support, having long-term physical and mental health conditions, using alcohol and drugs (including prescription medication), and having reduced mobility and falls.

Many people at a high risk of home fires are often already working with Occupational Therapists which offers an opportunity to identify increased risks.

Rebecca worked with Occupational Therapists from Royal Berkshire and South Wales Fire and Rescue Services to increase awareness of fire prevention within the professional community. This has resulted in a CPD resource for members of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT). It is available as a presentation and workbook that can be used by an individual or as part of a team.

The resources highlight key areas where therapists can incorporate fire prevention in their practice, including enhanced assessment of cooking safety, risk enablement with ‘safer’ smoking (where the person does not want to quit smoking), safer access arrangements, and education and advice for families and carers. The resource is designed to increase the confidence of Occupational Therapists with addressing fire safety and developing closer partnership links with the Fire and Rescue Services.

Rebecca said, “Occupational Therapists have an important opportunity to identify and reduce fire safety risks within our community. We are already working with patients who are face a higher likelihood of being affected by accidental home fires, and we can play an important role in helping them and their families and carers to create a safer environment.

“I’m really pleased that the RCOT has supported the project and hope that all Occupational Therapists will use the new resource and increase their confidence in identifying opportunities to improve fire safety.”

Rebecca has worked with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service since 2020 on a secondment following 7 years working in Nottinghamshire Healthcare as an Occupational Therapist in the Broxtowe Older Adults CMHT and IHTT. Rebecca’s role with the fire service includes providing specialist assessments and interventions to those at the highest risk of having an accidental fire in their homes, as well as embedding an understanding of health, client-centredness and positive risk-taking within the Prevention team in the fire service.

The new fire safety resource is available to be downloaded from the RCOT website by members of the organisation.



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