Sarah: Good morning. We’re very pleased to have been invited to talk to you today. My name is Sarah Hardman and I am the Substance use Co-ordinator within the Central Support section of our prevention and protection Directorate at GMFRS. My role is primarily to look at the impact of substance use including drugs, alcohol and smoking, on fire and other emergencies. As you can imagine, people who smoke or use substances are more vulnerable to accidents and to fire. I work very closely with our Health and Social Care Co-ordinator who looks at the impact of physical and mental health, and social care needs on fire. We have both recently been asked to consider the relationship between suicide and fire from a prevention perspective. Jess:
Sarah: Before we go on we wanted to give a bit of background about Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. Go through slide. I should probably add that the core purpose of the service is to protect and improve the quality of life of the people of GM. No mention of fire in there – yes responding to fires is still as important as it has always been but our prevention and protection activity is also vital and a preventative approach is really what we are going to focus on today
Sarah That’s the background. Before I move on to look at suicide and fire, I want to talk to you about how we record fire deaths and our approach to prevention. This should put some context to the subject. (Go through slide)
I know that our focus today is on suicide. GMFRS has traditionally classed this as non preventable fire death. However before I move on to focus on non-preventable, I want to take a look first at preventable fire deaths. This is to show you the approach we have taken to preventing accidental fires and its positive effect. Go through slide Talk about the contributory factors and the work to combat them, including the model.
Moving on to look at non preventable fires. This is the category that includes suicides by fire. For the same period covered by our fatal fires report that we looked at for preventable fires, 51 people died in GM But whilst there was a decrease in numbers where preventables were concerned, there was an increase in non-preventables. Go through slide.
Go through – In keeping with the new approach to treat all fires and deaths as preventable, including suicides GMFRS is committed to attending suicide prevention partnerships at central and local level. We are also looking to find out more about the risk and the root causes through a piece of research. Over to Jess… [Jess Notes] Fire as a means of suicide remains a relatively under-researched phenomenon. Within GMFRS, the relatively small number of incidents means that carrying out meaningful analysis is challenging. Externally, data relating to self-immolation is not readily accessible whilst within academia there appears to be a lack of existing literature that examines the subject, at least within the UK context. We recognise that if we are to be successful in preventing fire-related suicide we firstly need to better understand the scale and nature of the problem in Greater Manchester. To do this, we are in the process of developing a research project which I will outline briefly in the next few slides. Important caveat to this presentation: the project is in its very early stages of development and Sarah and I would like to take this opportunity to benefit from your expertise in helping us to shape the research. Indeed, if you think you may be in a position to support the work in some way, please do get in touch.
Read through the aims.
Read through proposed research questions.
This slide details our proposed methodology. Scoping Setting the parameters of the research We are currently seeking to establish key partners – as I say, do speak to myself or Sarah if you think there is an opportunity to collaborate Literature review Data analysis A review of available national data A ‘data audit’ of local, GM data – developing partnerships will be crucial for this to be possible Case study research We propose to use qualitative research to develop a number of case studies of individuals that have committed suicide by fire. It is anticipated that this will involve accessing coroners’ reports and, where possible, qualitative interviews with service providers that came into contact with the individual involved Reporting Development of recommendations - It is anticipated that the research will point towards potential partnerships between GMFRS and external agencies with the ultimate aim of helping to prevent incidents of self-immolation in the future
1. Suicide and FireGreater Manchester Fireand Rescue ServiceSarah Hardman (Substance Use Coordinator)Jess Smith (Research and Evaluation Officer)
2. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue ServiceSecond largest FRS in the countryAttend 55,000 incidents1 million homes2.5 million people2,500 members of staff41 fire stations60000 Home Safety Checks peryear
3. Preventable andNon-Preventable Fire DeathsPreventableAccidental Fire deaths that could be prevented byeducation and interventionNon-PreventableFire deaths that are not accidental and are the result of adeliberate human act
4. Preventable Fire DeathsRecent Fatal Fires Report covers the 5 year period between 2007/08 and2011/12During that period 60 people died in Preventable fires in GMSteady decline over the 5 years from 18 to 10 (44% reduction)The reduction can be attributed in part to our prevention activity including thedelivery of 361,437 Home Safety Checks and installation of 432,861 smokealarms.Increasingly, prevention of accidental fires and fire deaths considers the keycontributory factors in place as well as the direct cause.2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 20011/1218 11 11 10 10
5. Non-Preventable Fire Deaths2007/08 – 2011/12: 51 people died in Non-Preventable fires in GMIncrease over the 5 years from 6 to 14 (133% increase)2011/2012: First year that there were more non-preventable fire deaths than preventablefire deaths.Led us to challenge the belief that certain categories of fires cannot be prevented.GMFRS now considers all fires, (accidental or deliberate), as preventable.We will look to intervene and work in partnership to prevent and reduce deliberate firesand fire deaths, just as we have previously done with accidental fires2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 20011/126 13 10 8 14
6. SuicideSuicide accounted for 19 out of 51 Non-Preventable fire deaths (37%).That is 17% of total fire deathsSignificant Findings:74% fire related suicides involved people aged 41-6063% fire related suicides were in a dwelling68% fire related suicides self immolationContributory factors: mental illness, alcohol, prescribed medication,physical disability, recreational drugs
7. ResearchAims:•To better understand the scale of self-immolation within Greater Manchester;•To develop a richer understanding of the circumstances surrounding suicidesinvolving fire;•To support GMFRS in identifying any partnerships that could be developedwith the aim of helping to prevent such incidents.
8. ResearchProposed research questions:•How prevalent is self-immolation within Greater Manchester?•What steps could GMFRS and its partners take to help prevent such deathsfrom occurring in the future?
9. ResearchProposed methodology:•A mixed method approach: quantitative and qualitative– Stage 1: Scoping– Stage 2: Literature review– Stage 3: Data analysis– Stage 4: Case study research– Stage 5: Reporting– Stage 6: Development of recommendations