Life-saving 999 project lands top honours

Members of Salford and Wigan's CRITs in action
Members of Salford and Wigan's CRITs in action

A PROJECT with a Wigan base that has helped thousands of people in need across Greater Manchester has scooped a national award.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Risk Intervention Team (CRIT) was set up last year to support the work of the emergency services.

From left: Andrew Lynch, Editor of Fire Magazine, Councillor Tommy Judge, vice chair of Greater Manchester Fire Authority, Terri Byrne, CRIT Project Manager, Mark O'Brien, GMFRS Head of Transformation, Paul Fuller, Chief Fire Officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

From left: Andrew Lynch, Editor of Fire Magazine, Councillor Tommy Judge, vice chair of Greater Manchester Fire Authority, Terri Byrne, CRIT Project Manager, Mark O'Brien, GMFRS Head of Transformation, Paul Fuller, Chief Fire Officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Its aim is to help people stay safe in their homes but also respond to low-priority calls from North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Polices relating to falls in the home, cardiac arrest and concern for welfare.

Since going live, teams have responded to 2,832 calls for GMP and NWAS and have carried out 1,089 prevention visits. Now that work has been recognised by Fire Magazine Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards which named CRIT as Project of the Year.

CRIT received the award for its “innovation” and the savings it has made to the public, by taking pressure off the other emergency services and councils.

GMFRS chairman Coun David Acton said: “We are delighted to win this award. We have never embarked on a project like this before but we could see an opportunity to support the community and our partner services in a different way. Many lives have been saved and situations improved for our residents as a result of CRIT and we have been able to develop this work further since the team was introduced, as firefighters are now responding to cardiac arrests meaning more people are being given a better chance of survival.”

Over the past year, CRIT teams based in Wigan, Agecroft and Wythenshawe have worked alongside GMP, NWAS and local authorities to respond to cardiac arrests, falls and concerns for welfare, as well carrying out prevention work, such as fitting handrails and carrying out Safe and Well visits in people’s homes.

The project came about after a successful bid to the Government’s Fire Transformation Fund and is one of many aspects of GMFRS’ transition to fire being a health asset. The fire service has helped reduce the number of fires, and deaths and injuries from fire through a wide range of prevention initiatives and is now offering crime prevention and health advice to support other agencies to reduce incidents.