Halton, UK fire crews given global award following their lifesaving efforts

Hands of a woman checking her pulse with two fingers, medical concept

Fire crews in Halton, UK have been recognised with a global award as a result of their lifesaving work which goes beyond the expected remit of firefighters.
On their safe-and-well visits, the firefighters have been carrying out pulse checks as well as providing their usual support and advice to residents, some of which can be vulnerable.
As a result, the collaboration between Halton Borough Council’s Public Health department, the Innovation Agency, Cheshire Fire and Rescue service, and the Halton Clinical Commissioning Group, has ended up winning a Showcasing Best Practice Award at the Heart Rhythm Conference, which is an international event.
The pulse checks have proved vital in some cases, as they have identified irregular heartbeats in 29 different people, which has potentially ended up saving those residents from life-threatening strikes, in eight months.
Firefighters are using MyDiagnosticks handheld testing devices for this, which were funded the Innovation Agency. The devices essentially act as mobile electro cardiogram (ECG) monitors, which are capable of detecting an irregular heart rate.
Halton Borough Council’s Public Health department and the Halton Clinical Commissioning Group delivered the project, which has now seen Cheshire fire crews actively using the devises regularly to carry out the checks required.
In the eight months that fire crews have been using the devices, 1017 pulse checks took place, with 29 people having an irregular pulse.
The residents affected have since made and attended appointments and are all now having treatment, which in turn reduces and avoids the risk of a serious illness.
Operational firefighters carry out 700 visits a week across Cheshire on average, and is added to the ever-growing list of duties that Cheshire firefighters carry out.
In addition to fitting smoke alarms and offering fire safety advice, firefighters in the Cheshire region also provide information on alcohol and smoking cessation, avoiding slips, trips and falls, while also offering bowel cancer screening kits.

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