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16-Jul-2014 14:23


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News Headlines...July 2014

Fire Service warns of risk of wild fires

Wednesday 16 July

Wild fire image

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is urging members of the public to take care during this current spell of dry weather as every year fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats.

Station Commander Alan Haley said: “Fire crews have attended a number of incidents over the last week involving fires in the open, these included grass fires, undergrowth and bramble fires.  We have been experiencing some dry, warm weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends but it is also important to stay fire aware when out and about”. 

He continued “With the dry weather set to continue this week we are asking the public to be vigilant and by following these few simple steps we can all help to reduce the chance of a wildfire.”

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly, don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.
  • Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals.
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident. 
  • Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.
  • Remember that arson is a crime and will be prosecuted.

We would also ask people to be extra cautious when lighting barbeques and bonfires. If you must have an open fire:

  • Only use barbeques in suitable and safe areas, never leave them unattended.
  • Never use petrol, it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only use approved lighting fuels.
  • Make sure it is downwind and at least 10 metres away from any buildings or structures.
  • Clear dry vegetation, such as leaves, to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Never leave fires unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished after use.

 


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Set up camp safely: The hazards of the great outdoors

Wednesday 16 July

Old caravan with build up of rubbish image

As part of the Fire Kills campaign Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is asking the people of the two counties to stay safe this summer as they make the most of the weather and enjoy the great outdoors, whether camping, cooking or exploring.

Station Commander Alan Haley of HWFRS said “A long hot summer is what we hope for, however like many changes in activity, it can bring risks.  If you’re intending to take out your tent, ready your rucksack or get your caravan back on the road, you should go armed with some safety advice before heading for the great outdoors”.

“By following the Fire Kills campaign’s top tips you can ensure that your great adventure is a safe and enjoyable one”.

Tents

  • Allow at least 6m spacing between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
  • Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls and never cook inside a small tent or near flammable materials or long grass; they can all set alight easily.
  • Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there’s a fire.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that’s on fire – stop, drop and roll.
  • Don’t smoke inside tents.

 Caravans

  • Fit and test a smoke alarm in your caravan.
  • Fit and test a carbon monoxide alarm in your caravan.
  • Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.
  • Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.
  • Make sure ashtrays are made of a material that can’t burn or topple over –never smoke in bed.
  • Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
  • Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents, to avoid a build- up of poisonous gases.

 

In closing Station Commander Haleysaid: “It may all sound a bit daunting but it needn’t be, most of this advice is common sense. From time to time we all need reminders; so enjoy the countryside and your recreation and be safe.”

For more information on fire safety, please visit www.hwfire.org.uk


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Boat safety advice

Tuesday 15 July

River rescue training exercise image

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is reminding sailing enthusiasts to take care when out on the waves and waterways this summer. 

Station Commander Alan Haley, HWFRS said “The number of boat fires on our coastal and inland waters is relatively low. But when they do occur, they quite often have devastating consequences. The remote location of most moorings means that fire and rescue services can find it hard to get close to boating incidents. 

Station Commander Haley continued “we want people to make sure they can give a good indication of their location when aboard a boat, explaining that access to rivers and canals can be difficult.  Good directions can help avoid any unnecessary delay in the event of an emergency and on many occasions, this delay can result in the total destruction of the boat and surrounding property”.

By following the Fire Kills campaign’s top tips you can ensure your time afloat is safe and enjoyable, for yourself and your passengers: 

  • Make sure you know your boat and make a fire action plan with everyone in the boat.
  • Fit a smoke alarm that meets the EN 50291 standard and carries an approval mark such as ‘kitemark’.
  • Fit a gas and petrol vapour detector alarm in the bilge and even in the cabin space to give you early warnings of dangerous build-ups of explosive gases.
  • Check all appliances are turned off and if possible, close the valve on the LPG cylinders before you go to bed or leave the boat.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.  Make sure they are put out safely.
  • Keep candles, matches, lighters and other sources of flame out of reach of children.
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out safely – use metal ashtrays.  Avoid falling asleep with a lit cigarette – never smoke in bed.
  • Never leave a hot hob unattended especially when cooking with oil or fat.
  • Don’t fit curtains or fabrics over hob burners and don’t dry tea towels or clothes over a cooker or hob.
  • Ensure you wear appropriate life jackets and have suitable buoyancy aids on board.

 

In closing Station Commander Haley said: “This may seem a long list but most of the actions are common sense.  If you follow the advice you will help reduce the risk of fire occurring on your boat”. 

For more information on fire safety, please visit www.hwfire.org.uk


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Water safety warning in hot weather

Tuesday 15 July

Rushing water image

With a spell of hot weather predicted Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is issuing vital water safety advice.

Station Commander Alan Haley from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said “with the summer holidays coming up and this spell of warm weather set to continue we are keen to highlight water safety awareness to children, their parents and as wide a cross-section of the local community as possible”.

He continued “We would like to highlight the dangers of open water; People do not understand that even the strongest swimmers can find themselves in difficulty, as the cold water causes muscles to cramp. There is then a strong possibility that they cannot swim due to muscular cramps which can then lead to drowning, whatever their age.  We would like to encourage people to take extra care”.

Stressing that he wanted people to enjoy the water safely, without putting themselves or others at risk, he urged everyone to take note of the following water safety advice:

  • Don't jump or dive into open water unless you know the depth. Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible and can cause serious impact injuries.
  • Be aware that there may be strong currents, even where the surface of the water appears calm. Don't go near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices.
  • Take notice of warning signs, safety information or flags near the water’s edge. 
  • Water can be very cold even in the summer causing cramp and breathing difficulties which can affect everyone regardless of their swimming ability.
  • Keep away from the river’s edge and closely supervise young children at all times.
  • Wear the recommended safety equipment for your activity, eg life jackets/helmets.
  • Be warned - airbeds, etc. can be carried into deep water and may not keep you afloat.
  • Consuming alcohol may impair your ability and judgment – alcohol and swimming should never be mixed.
  • Get trained in life saving and resuscitation techniques.
  • Teach children to swim and not to go into the water alone.

Visit HWFRS’s website at www.hwfire.org.uk  for additional water safety information.


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Safety warning following E-cigarette fire

Monday 14 July

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is warning people about the dangers of over-charging e-cigarettes after a fire in Worcester.

Two fire engines from Worcester attended a fire at a property in Lincoln Green at just after 6.00pm on Sunday 13 July.

Station Commander Alan Haley from the Community Safety department said:  “Thankfully no-one was injured in this fire, however, it could have been much worse which is why I want to use this case to stress the importance of people not leaving electrical items such as e-cigarettes on charge while they are away from the house or asleep.” 

He continued:  “Our advice for e-cigarettes is the same as for many smaller electrical appliances such as mobile phones and laptops - don’t be tempted to buy cheap unbranded chargers, don’t leave them to charge whilst you are out of the house or asleep and keep them well away from flammable materials.  It is important that when you are out or are asleep at night to close all doors”. 

“We would also like to remind people to have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home and to test them on a weekly basis.”

Station Commander Haley wanted e-cigarette users to be aware of the following advice:

  • Never leave e-cigarettes on charge unattended for long periods of time
  • Only use the charger supplied
  • Charge the device on a flat, solid and stable surface, such as a kitchen worktop
  • Don’t exceed the recommended charging time
  • Keep the device way from flammable or combustible materials when charging
  • Never leave the device on a bed or close to soft furnishings, or in a cluttered space
  • Ensure you purchase your e-cigarette from a reputable sources
  • Check the e-cigarette carries CE certification
  • Keep e-cigarettes out of the reach of children

For more information on fire safety, visit www.hwfire.org.uk


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Fire Safety Advice during industrial action

Wednesday 9 July

Fire safety advice image

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is urging members of the public to take extra care during this week’s Firefighter industrial action.

The strike action will take place Thursday 10th July 10.00am until 7.00pm. This period of strike action will see HWFRS operating a reduced service.

Adrian Elliott, Group Commander of HWFRS said “We are encouraging motorists and residents to take extra care during the strikes when there will be reduced fire cover. Not all of our firefighters are members of the Fire Brigades Union which means some stations will be working normally but people should be aware that it may take us a little longer to respond to calls in some instances”.

“During the firefighter strikes, we want people to be clear about what to do in the event of a fire. The most important point they need to know is that they will still get an emergency response and they should not be tempted to tackle fires themselves.” 

He continued: “General fire safety messages that we promote throughout the year become even more crucial at times of strike action.  An early alert to a fire in your home is just as important for avoiding injury and damage to property, and we would also like to remind people to install a smoke alarm on every floor of their home and to test each alarm is working on a weekly basis.”

He also encouraged people to plan an escape route and to make sure everyone in the house is aware of it.

Other fire safety messages to consider are:

  • Close inside doors at night to help prevent a fire from spreading.
  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.  Put them out.  Right out.
  • Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.
  • Do not overload electrical sockets and watch out for faulty and over-heating electrical equipment and wiring or cables.
  • Don’t tackle a fire yourself.  Keep calm and act quickly, get everyone out as soon as possible.

For further information visit our Industrial Action advice page.


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Fire Brigades Union announces further strike dates

Friday 4 July

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has today been informed that members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will be taking part in industrial action on the following date:

Thursday 10th July 2014 from 10:00am until 7:00pm

Then on the following dates & times:

Monday 14 July Tuesday 15 July Wednesday 16 July Thursday 17 July
6.00am to 8.00am 6.00am to 8.00am 6.00am to 8.00am 6.00am to 8.00am
5.00pm to 7.00pm 5.00pm to 7.00pm 5.00pm to 7.00pm 5.00pm to 7.00pm
       
Friday 18 July Saturday 19 July Sunday 20 July Monday 21 July
6.00am to 8.00am 11.00am to 1.00pm   6.00am to 8.00am
11.00pm to 1.00am
on Saturday 19
11.00pm to 1.00am
on Sunday 20
5.00pm to 7.00pm 5.00pm to 7.00pm

 

This national trade dispute between the Fire Brigades Union and National Government relates to proposed changes to Firefighters pensions.

This is obviously a serious situation both for the Service and for all individuals concerned and the Service hopes that there will be continued dialogue between the Union and Government over the coming days to prevent strike action taking place.

A ballot result last year provided the FBU with a mandate to take industrial action. It affects all operational staff who are members of the FBU and are eligible to join a Firefighters Pension Scheme.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has a statutory duty to plan for industrial action in order to maintain an operational response capability. As such, the Service has in place a robust Business Continuity Plan to deal with periods of industrial action. This plan was invoked during periods of industrial action last year and earlier this year.

If strike action takes place on these dates it will result in a significant reduction of the Service’s available resources. However, plans are in place to continue to provide appropriate emergency fire cover across the two counties. This reduced fire cover is likely to provide a basic service and will aim to prioritise the most urgent calls ahead of other responses.

Area Commander Keith Chance, Head of Operations Support for Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “While the industrial action is on-going we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we will be asking members of the public to take extra steps to reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in their home. This is the first 24 hour strike being taken by the FBU during this dispute and we appreciate that members of the public may be concerned by this, however, I would like to reassure them that we will have plans in place to cover this strike period.

“We would ask people to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes as this can provide them with an early warning if a fire should break out in their home. We have lots of fire safety advice for residents and businesses on our website www.hwfire.org.uk Above all else please remain vigilant.”


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Barbecue safety during hot weather

Wednesday 2 July

Barbeque photo montage

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is encouraging people to take care when using their barbecues during this warm spell of weather.

HWFRS as part of the Fire Kills campaign, is asking everyone to take extra care when cooking al fresco, especially when lighting barbecues or dealing with bad weather.

Alan Haley, Station Commander said “It’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather with family and friends - many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit. We all know how tempting it can be to give stubborn coals a helping hand, but, please be patient and make sure you use the right tools for the job”.

He continued “if you’ve planned a barbecue and the weather lets you down, don’t take the barbecue indoors or into a tent.  In recent years, some people have sadly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning as a result, so we are urging everyone to stay safe this summer.”

By following the following top safety tips you can ensure your barbecue is a safe, enjoyable event:

  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.  
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors.

Station Commander Haley finished off by saying, “this may seem a long list but most of these things are common sense. By far the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue. We have had a couple of occasions where people have poured petrol onto the charcoal in an effort to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous.Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early. Most of all, enjoy yourself safely”.

For more information on fire safety, please visit www.facebook.com/firekills.


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Fire safety advice reminder during Industrial Action

Wedsnesday 2 July

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is re-issuing its safety advice to remind members of the public to take extra care during this weekend’s Firefighter industrial action.

The strike action will take place Thursday 10 July from 10.00am to 7.00pm. This period of strike action will see HWFRS operating a reduced service.

Adrian Elliott, Group Commander of HWFRS said “We are encouraging motorists and residents to take extra care during the strikes when there will be reduced fire cover. Not all of our firefighters are members of the Fire Brigades Union which means some stations will be working normally but people should be aware that it may take us a little longer to respond to calls in some instances”.

“During the firefighter strikes, we want people to be clear about what to do in the event of a fire. The most important point they need to know is that they will still get an emergency response and they should not be tempted to tackle fires themselves.” 

He continued: “General fire safety messages that we promote throughout the year become even more crucial at times of strike action.  An early alert to a fire in your home is just as important for avoiding injury and damage to property, and we would also like to remind people to install a smoke alarm on every floor of their home and to test each alarm is working on a weekly basis.”

He also encouraged people to plan an escape route and to make sure everyone in the house is aware of it.

Other fire safety messages to consider are:

  • Close inside doors at night to help prevent a fire from spreading.
  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully.  Put them out.  Right out.
  • Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.
  • Do not overload electrical sockets and watch out for faulty and over-heating electrical equipment and wiring or cables.
  • Don’t tackle a fire yourself.  Keep calm and act quickly, get everyone out as soon as possible.

For further information visit our Industrial Action advice page.


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