Professionals given training to protect the vulnerable from fire

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is set to re-launch a specialist training scheme to ensure vulnerable members in the community are effectively safeguarded against the risks of a house fire.

The Olive Branch scheme has been running as face-to-face sessions for several years, but will soon be available on the digital platform: LearnLive, and will be used by councillors, police officers, social workers, domiciliary care providers, occupational health therapists and others.

The training is free of charge and hopes to enable professionals to identify potential hazards within the homes of vulnerable people and make the necessary referrals to the Service’s Contact Centre to request a Home Fire Safety Visit.

The Service launched the initiative in July 2007 following the death of an elderly lady: Olive Simcock, who sadly passed away following a house fire in her south Staffordshire home.

Olive’s lifestyle meant she was at high risk of being a victim of fire for several years, but was never referred to the Fire and Rescue Service and, therefore, didn’t receive the appropriate prevention measures.

Following this, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service embarked on the programme to train the relevant professionals who are able to signpost vulnerable members of the community to the Fire and Rescue Service for a Home Fire Safety Visit.

Carmel Warren, Partnership and Intervention Manager at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The new delivery methods allow us to effectively reach a larger number of professionals who are capable of potentially saving a life.

“Trainers are no longer required to travel long distances and incur travel costs and take up valuable time travelling to a venue which can disrupt their demanding working lives.

“The training is now readily available at the learner’s convenience and allows these individuals to give basic fire safety advice, advise clients on best practices in the event of an emergency and will advise them how to make a referral for vulnerable people in need of Fire Prevention advice.

“By distributing this prevent knowledge and ensuring referral pathways are readily available, we are able to collectively ensure all members of the community are well protected against fire.”

The Olive Branch scheme is set to launch on LearnLive later this month.

Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Olive Branch is a fantastic tool that is going to help us keep residents safer in their homes.

“We are making the training available to every councillor in the city and to our staff who regularly visit homes.

"One of the best parts of being a councillor is being out in the community and chatting to people face-to-face. This free, online training session will give us the skills to spot if someone may need some support to reduce the chances of a fire and how to easily make a referral."

Michelle Hickmott, Assistant Chief Fire Officer said “The Olive Branch Scheme has undoubtedly helped protect many of the most vulnerable residents in Staffordshire from fire since 2007.

“It is so important that our partners and colleagues are well trained to understand the risks in peoples homes and have a clear pathway of referral to our contact centre.

“With our training now being accessible via LearnLive, we hope to be able to reach even more professionals giving them the skills to help us protect our most vulnerable from fire in their homes.”

For more information on LearnLive, visit: Home | Virtual Learning Environment | FREE Online Learning | Learn Live ( or to book onto a session please telephone the contact centre on 0800 0241999 or email

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