A NEW fire safety campaign has been launched to make people aware of the dangers of emollients.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) has partnered with NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Community Pharmacy South Central the campaign. 

It centres around emollients, including creams, sprays, and lotions, which often contain paraffin, oils, or butters.

Whether paraffin or non-paraffin-based, these can act as an accelerant when soaked into clothing and in contact with flames or heat sources.

The collaborative campaign has been initiated due to a number of both nationwide and local incidents, with many proving fatal. The aim is to inform the public about these heightened fire hazards and suggest steps to lessen risks, possibly preventing future incidents.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Pharmacist Rakesh OdedraPharmacist Rakesh Odedra (Image: Supplied)

To assist with public awareness, posters and postcards are being distributed to pharmacies and GP surgeries across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Steps to diminish your personal risk, or that of someone you know, include careful practices such as never smoking in bed; being wary if clothing or bedding is emollient-contaminated, especially when smoking or utilising gas or electric cooking appliances; maintaining a safe distance from open fires, gas fires, and halogen heaters; and washing affected clothing and bedding at the highest recommended temperature every day.

Although this measure lessens the risk, it is critical to remember it does not entirely eradicate all potential fire hazards.

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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."

Basingstoke Gazette: Campaign resources have been sent to pharmacies and GP surgeries throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Campaign resources have been sent to pharmacies and GP surgeries throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (Image: Supplied)

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."