Fire Service and health partners launch emollients fire safety campaign


05/03/2024 3:11pm


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) have joined forces with the NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Community Pharmacy South Central to launch a safety campaign around the fire risks of emollients.

Emollients are creams, sprays, and lotions that may contain paraffin or other products like butters and oils. Both paraffin and non-paraffin emollients can act as an accelerant when absorbed into clothing and exposed to naked flames or other heat sources.

Rooksdown Pharmacy Pharmacist Rakesh Odedra
Pharmacist Rakesh Odedra, Rooksdown Pharmacy, Basingstoke

The joint awareness campaign has been developed following a series of national and local tragedies, many of which were sadly fatal. The hope is that by educating members of the public about the increased fire risks and the actions they can take to reduce these, further tragedies of this kind can be prevented in the future.

Rooksdown Pharmacy - emollients safety postcard being put into prescription bag

Campaign resources including posters and postcards have been sent to pharmacies and GP surgeries throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight for them to share with members of the public to help raise awareness of the potential fire risks within the local community.

Emollients campaign image

Reduce the risks for yourself or someone you know:

  • Never smoke in bed.
  • If your clothing, bedding/blankets are affected by emollients:
  • Be cautious when smoking.
  • Take care when cooking with gas or electric hobs.
  • Do not sit too close to any open fires, gas fires or halogen heaters.
  • Wash your clothing and bedding daily at the highest temperature recommended. Although this will lower your risk, washing fabrics does not completely remove all fire risks.

HIWFRS Safeguarding Lead Laura Cane-Andrews said:

“Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks associated with emollient creams, so the hope is that through this joint campaign with the ICB and Community Pharmacy South Central, we can help to raise awareness of the potential dangers and how to reduce these risks.

“As pharmacies and GP surgeries usually prescribe or sell emollient products, their involvement provided an ideal way to reach emollient users, so we are very grateful to them for their support with this campaign as well as our health partners.”

Neil Hardy, Chief Pharmacist at NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICB, said:

“We were really pleased to partner with the fire service and offer our support for this important message to help inform our patients and prevent any potential future tragedies.”  

Alison Freemantle, Joint Chief Officer at Community Pharmacy South Central said:

“Many people obtain emollients and creams from community pharmacies whether it’s when collecting a prescription or buying them. It’s important people are aware of risks and how to minimise them and pharmacies are in an ideal position to help spread this message to the public.”

Find out more about the fire risks of emollients.

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