Mental health nursing students receive home fire safety training to help protect patients from fire risks

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS), Hywel Dda Health Board and Swansea University have presented 60 student mental health nurses with Home Fire Safety Check (HFSC) certificates at a presentation held at St David’s Park, Carmarthen.

The students, who are shortly about to complete their final year in mental health nursing at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences, have undergone part one of an extensive training programme to learn how to undertake HFSCs in mental health patients’ homes.

Mental health student nurses get fire safety certificate

The courses were conducted by Station Manager Jeremy Trew at the Fire Service’s headquarters in Carmarthen, Morriston and Swansea Central Fire Station. Upon qualifying in August, the nurses will be able to complete part two of the training before receiving full competency from MAWWFRS to carry out HFSCs.  Students During the course students learnt how to identify and lessen the risks of accidental fires, as well as how to work with specific fire risk behaviours: for example smoking in bed or cooking unsafely.  Having this training early on in their career reinforces the message that fire safety is a holistic part of caring and can save lives.

The initiative comes in response to evidence that two thirds of fire fatalities were people known to the statutory care services.

Alison Evans, from Hywel Dda Health Board said, “The purpose of training mental health nurses in conducting HFSCs is to ensure that patients who are particularly vulnerable are kept safe from the potential threat of fire. It can be quite challenging for fire personnel to gain access to patients home, so we feel the initiative to train nurses in this way is something that is going to work really well in ensuring mental health patients are better protected and looked after.”

Hywel Thomas, Mental Health Nurse Tutor at Swansea University said: “The Home Fire Safety Check training was useful for the third year mental health students’ learning needs, and helpful for their future practice.

“We really value working in partnership with Hywel Dda Health Board and the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Partnerships such as this are embedded into the University curriculum for all fields of nursing and provide excellent opportunities for the sharing of knowledge and expertise. The students made lots of positive comments about the training!”

Student Nurse, Kim James, said “The training day was excellent and very beneficial. As mental health nurses we want to look after our patients every way we can. By going on this course I now have the knowledge to help keep my patients safe from fire risks, and I also picked up a few pointers for myself!”

Student Nurse, Sue Woodthorpe, said “I found the fire safety training invaluable. It raised my awareness of fire risks in patient’s homes, and provided me with a set of skills; enabling me to begin supporting patients in making significant and possibly life-saving changes. “