New joint emergency services team visits hundreds of Sheffield homes

L-R: Hayley Laurie and Jayne White  are members of the LIFE team which operates  in Sheffield
L-R: Hayley Laurie and Jayne White are members of the LIFE team which operates in Sheffield
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A new joint emergency services team in Sheffield has visited hundreds of homes in a six month pilot project.

The team, set up by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, South Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, is aimed at helping vulnerable people and reducing 999 calls.

The Local Intervention and Falls Episodes (LIFE) team visits homes to reduce the risk of fires breaking out in properties and to support victims of crime and anti-social behaviour.

The team also helps improve home security in some properties and helps people who have fallen get back onto their feet.

The team has carried out almost 300 crime prevention checks and more than 350 home safety visits, which include the fitting of free smoke alarms, during an initial six month trial.

During the trial the team helped 61 people who fell and were not seriously injured but were unable to get up on their own.

The work would normally be carried out by police officers and paramedics, taking them off the road.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue's head of prevention and protection, Steve Helps, said: “During its first six months, this team has more than proven its concept and has helped hundreds of people in Sheffield at the same time as keeping police and ambulance crews available for other, more serious types of incidents.

“We know that there are huge links between the people who need the help of the police and health services, and those who are at risk of fire. So collaborative working such as this undoubtedly benefits our public safety work as well.”

Chief Inspector Jenny Lax, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “The LIFE team is an excellent example of emergency services working together through collaboration to reduce the vulnerability of people in our communities and improve their quality of life”.

The team is made up of two fire service workers and two South Yorkshire Police Community Support Officers.

It has been funded by South Yorkshire Fire Authority and researchers from the University of Huddersfield have been commissioned to evaluate its effectiveness.

Last year the Government announced new proposals to transform the way the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services work together.

It wants to encourage collaboration by introducing a new statutory duty on all three emergency services to look at opportunities to work together better to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

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