Accessibility statement

FIREFLI: Do Safe and Well Visits delivered by the Fire and Rescue Service reduce falls and improve quality of life among older people? A randomised controlled trial

What is a Safe and Well Visit?

The Fire and Rescue services carry out Safe and Well Visits (SWV) in people’s homes. These look at fire safety, such as checking and fitting smoke alarms, but also look at wider health issues such as falls prevention, stopping smoking and keeping homes warm in the winter. The Fire and Rescue Service target those most at risk, which includes those aged 70 and over in Kent and those aged 65 and over in Humberside.

Why we are looking at falls?

Falls are highly prevalent and can have serious consequences in older people, leading to fractures and loss of confidence and independence.  There were around 210,000 falls-related emergency hospital admissions in England in 2016/2017. Approximately a third of people over the age of 65 years, and half of those over 80 will fall each year costing the NHS more than £2.3 billion per year to treat. 

Fire and Falls

Those who are at an increased risk of falls are also at an increased risk of harm from a fire as they may have difficulty getting out of their house in the event of a fire. There are common risk factors for falls and harm from fire such as items in entrances or clutter, which the Fire and Rescue service can address.

Wider health issues

By looking at the wider health issues during the Safe and Well visit the Fire and Rescue Service it is anticipated that it may  help improve the health and well-being of people in the community by helping to  support independent living, help prevent avoidable hospital admissions and excess winter deaths, and to contribute to improving quality of life.

Who is being invited to take part?

Men and women aged 70 years and over in Kent and aged 65 years and over in Humberside, who live in the community in the areas covered by the Humberside and Kent Fire and Rescue Services.

The research

FIREFLI is a large pragmatic, individually randomised, controlled trial with an embedded economic and qualitative evaluations.  The aim of the research is to see whether SWVs delivered by the FRS will lead to a reduction in the number of falls and an improvement in health related quality of life. It will also look at the cost-effectiveness of the intervention and explore the acceptability of the SWV to older people and the FRS. 

We will recruit 1156 participants and they will be randomly divided into two groups. One group (the intervention group) will receive the SWV at the beginning of the study and the other group (the control group) will receive the visit at the end of the study. 

We will measure the number of falls people have using monthly falls calendars and follow up other outcomes by questionnaires 4, 8 and 12 months. We will also undertake interviews with some participants and with Fire and Rescue Service staff to explore experiences around the SWVs. 

We will also carry out two studies within a trial (SWAT) to investigate more efficient ways of running trials.

Study Update

Thank you to everyone who agreed to take part in the FIREFLI study.  We have now stopped recruitment to the study and are in the process of analysing and writing up the results.   

Privacy Notice: How we use your research data.


Funder(s): National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) - Public Health Research
Start Date: February 2020
End Date: February 2023


YTU Staff

External Staff

  • Prof. Avril Drummond - University of Nottingham
  • Associate Prof. Alison Pighills - Queensland Health / James Cook University, Education and Research Centre
  • Ms. Jo Mann - Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
  • Mr. Richard Stanford-Beale - Kent Fire & Rescue Service
  • Ms. Sarah Wilkinson - Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
  • Mrs. Shelley Crossland - Leicestershire Partnership NHS
  • Mr. Steve Duffield - Humberside Fire and Rescue Service

Contact us

Sarah Cockayne, Chief Investigator Tel: 01904 32(1736)
Dr Rachel Cunningham-Burley, Research Fellow (Trial Coordinator) Tel: 01904 32(8088)
Gareth Roberts, Trial Support Officer Tel: 01904 32(1636)