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Emollient creams.

It's important to be aware of the fire safety risks if a person you care for needs moisturising creams – here's how to reduce potential fire risks.

What is it?

What do we mean by emollient creams?

Emollient creams are moisturisers that can be used to prevent or treat dry skin conditions like:

  • Eczema
  • Bed sores
  • Ulcers
  • Psoriasis

They come in a variety of forms: creams, lotions or gels. All cover the skin with a protective film to reduce water loss. They can be very flammable, so are a fire safety concern, especially when used by people who spend extended periods in a bed or armchair due to illness or impaired mobility.

There is a separate page for healthcare equipment including oxygen therapy, dynamic airflow pressure relieving mattresses and incontinence products– and there is specialist advice to support you if you care for a person who is a smoker, or someone who has hoarding disorder

Emollient creams and healthcare equipment video

Healthcare equipment and products – and how they can increase a vulnerable person's fire risk

Understanding and reducing the risks

How can you use emollient creams more safely?

If you care for someone who needs emollient creams, lotions or gels, you can help to  keep them safe by understanding and reducing the related risks. 

Understand the risks

Anyone using paraffin-based emollients regularly should keep well away from fire or naked flames. A build up of paraffin residue on bedding, clothing and dressings can increase flammability.

Fire safety suggestions

  1. Switch to emollient products which have the lowest possible petroleum or paraffin content. Speak to the GP or pharmacist for advice about what’s right for the person.

  2. Wash fabrics daily at the highest temperature recommended by the manufacturer with plenty of detergent.

Getting extra help

Get expert advice with a home fire safety visit

We can provide more specialist advice based on the person you care for's home and individual needs during a home fire safety visit

Visits can be arranged at any time (24/7), and we even fit free smoke alarms if the person you care for needs them. Specialist alarms can also be fitted – for example, strobe light and vibrating pad alarms for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Book a visit

Find out more about home fire safety visits and book one for the person you care for.

Home fire safety visits

Extra information for support workers and social workers

If you are a support worker providing care there are some extra steps to take:

  1. Complete the Person Centred Risk Assessment at the bottom of this page – this will help you identify areas of risk to the person you care for.
  2. Report the risks to your line manager and ask them to discuss a referral for a free home fire safety visit with the client.
  3. Communicating with the person’s family or other supporting agencies to consider how Telecare can help to keep vulnerable people safer.
  4. Make sure that fire risk is included in the care plan for your client including things like using fire retardant bedding, appropriate management of emollient creams, and how to care for people who smoke.

It's also a good idea to get some training on how to recognise fire risks. This will help you to spot signs that may indicate the person you care for is at risk of injury from fire and what steps you can take to reduce those risks. There's a good free online course available here.

e-Learning with Telecare Services

 

If any of these signs are combined with limited mobility – for example, if the person you care for is bed bound or spends most of their time in a chair – the person is particularly at risk.

Please consider their needs and make sure appropriate measures are taken so they can safely escape if there is fire. Learn more about escape plans from homes here, and from workplaces (like residential care homes) here.

Useful downloads

Person Centred Fire Risk Assessment

Download PDF (53kb)

Fire safety in the home booklet

Download PDF (3,682kb)

Means of escape for disabled people leaflet

Download PDF (917kb)

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