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Health & Wellbeing

It is known from research that people live on average 14 years longer when they follow the four healthy lifestyle behaviours of:

  • Not smoking.
  • Drinking alcohol within the recommended daily limits.
  • Taking regular exercise.
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is supporting the health and care organisations across Derbyshire as part of the Making Every Contact Count (MECC) initiative and we have produced the sections below that provide information about healthy lifestyle behaviours, related Fire Safety concerns and links to support websites to help you make that lifestyle change.

Long Live Britain - BBC1

A new series has has been released by the BBC which targets some of the main health problems, namely Diabetes, heart problems and liver disease.

You can find this great series by clicking the following BBC iPlayer link:

Winter - Spot the signs of a cold home, it may save a life.

During the winter people in Derby City die as a result of being too cold in their own home. These deaths are not from hypothermia but from sitting or sleeping in cold rooms which causes existing medical conditions to get much worse.

These people would not have died anyway; these deaths are preventable with simple advice and referrals to agencies that can help.

Direct effects of cold weather include an increase in heart attacks and stroke, respiratory disease and Influenza, falls and injuries and hypothermia. Other indirect effects include mental illnesses such as depression and carbon monoxide poisoning from poorly maintained or ventilated boilers, cooking and heating appliances.

People at greater risk of harm from the cold

  • Older people (over 75 years old and/or "frail" older people)
  • Children under the age of 5.
  • People living with disabilities or long term health conditions.
  • People with mental ill health that reduces their ability to self-care.
  • People with learning difficulties.
  • People living in deprived circumstances.
  • Homeless or people sleeping rough and other marginalised groups.

Spotting the signs of a cold home

  • It feels cold in the house - do you keep a coat on when you visit this house?
  • Damp patches? Condensation? Draughts? Blocked vents?
  • No (or not using) central heating.
  • Safety issues - overloaded sockets, exposed wires, drying clothes on portable heaters and putting furnishings too close to the heat source. Is there a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?
  • Wearing lots of clothes indoors.
  • Heating just one room in the house.
  • Struggling to keep warm - are there blankets or hot water bottles by the chair they sit in? Fighting the cold - are the curtains closed through the day?
  • Poor eating habits? Mobility problems? Difficulty using hands?
  • Breathing problems.

What you can do - Factsheets

  • Identify those at risk on your case-load and make changes to care plans for high risk groups to reduce the risk from cold weather.
  • Identify those using unorthodox ways of keeping warm, which could increase the risk of fire in the home.
  • Check the client's room temperature when visiting and ensure that they have at least one room which meets recommended room temperatures.
  • Check the client's room temperature when visiting and ensure that they have at least one room which meets recommended room temperatures.
  • Remind clients of the actions they can take to protect themselves against the cold e.g. clothing, warm food, drinks, exercise (within the context of their care plan).
  • Continue to refer or signpost those at risk to other services (see below).
  • Encourage clients in at risk groups to have a flu jab.
  • Be familiar with the Cold Weather Plan for England and the suggested Action card for front line professionals (link below) and your own organisational plan.
  • Be aware of the risks, signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Give Key Health Messages

  • Get your flu jab if you are in an at risk group.
  • Keep your house warm, efficiently and safely - your living room should be 21°C (70°F) and your bedroom heated to 18°C (65°F)
  • Keep in the warmth (draughts, insulation, draw the curtains etc.)
  • Look after yourself- eating hot meals, hot drinks, wearing lots of thin layers, stock up on food and medication in bad weather.
  • Heating and cooking appliances should be properly maintained - don't use the oven or gas cooker to heat your home - you risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Always use a fire guard to protect an open fire against flying sparks.
  • Look after others - older relatives, friends and neighbours.
  • Get financial support - you may be eligible for grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient or help to pay the bills

Who can help those in your care?

Contacts that can help for those in your care
Stay Warm and Healthy in Derby 01332 640337 Helps local vulnerable people who are struggling to keep warm and heat their homes.
Derby City Council Healthy Housing Service 01332 640163 Receives referrals from any health and care workers for people whose housing conditions may be harming their health.
Derby City Council Home Energy Advice 01332 640810 Information and advice about how to save energy, keep warm, and latest advice on the latest home energy grants.
Age UK (Derby and Derbyshire) 01332 343232 Provide a range of services for the older community across Derby and Derbyshire.
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Web Link Offer home safety checks where it is known that there is a higher risk of fire, primarily the more vulnerable groups in the community.


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