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24-Sep-2014 10:04

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News Headlines...September 2014

To go straight to any of September's news click on the links below.

Ageing Safely Week | Gas Safety Week | Clean Sweep for Safety

Ageing Safely Week 2014

Tuesday 23 September

Ageing Safely week logo

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is supporting the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) Ageing Safely Week which will run from 29 September to 5 October 2014.

The week will see Fire and Rescue Services across the country delivering messages to help keep older people safe.

Ageing Safely Week, running for the first time this year, has been scheduled to run in conjunction with UK Older People’s Day which is taking place on 1 October. 

Statistics show that the risk of dying in a fire for those aged 65 and over is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages. With an ever-increasing older population – 23% of the UK will be aged 65 and over by 2035 – activities to help older people prevent fires and keep themselves safe are likely to form a growing part of the fire service’s work over the coming years.

Station Commander Alan Haley, Community Safety said: “HWFRS identify those who are most at risk in their community, and undertake targeted prevention and protection activities to help them stay safe.  In the year 2012 – 13, Fire service staff carried out nearly 4000 home fire safety checks (HFSCs) to households where there are vulnerable people.  Over 2000 of these were households with a person over the age of 70 years”.

He continued: “This is just a small part of the work that the fire service does with older people. We work closer with partner agencies to share resources and expertise and deliver integrated services to the local community to ensure that those most vulnerable are getting the help they need”.

CFOA President Peter Dartford said: “CFOA Ageing Safely Week gives Fire and Rescue Services the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to protecting older people, particularly those who are vulnerable and may be most at risk”.

Finally, Station Commander Haley said “Anyone unsure about the alarm they need should contact the Community Safety department for advice and to see if they would qualify for a free Home Fire Safety Check on 0800 032 1155. We are here to help make sure your home is as fire safe as possible.”


Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service support Gas Safety Week

Wednesday 10 September

Fire Kills logo

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) has pledged its support for Gas Safety Week (15-21 September).

This fourth annual Gas Safety Week will see the whole industry coming together to bring gas safety to the forefront of people’s minds. Dangerous gas work can kill, so it is vital that gas appliances are safety checked at least once a year. If left unchecked, poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. In the last year alone, 343 people were injured and 10 people died as a result of gas related incidents.

Station Commander Alan Haley said: “Many of us use gas for heating, hot water and cooking, yet we take it for granted that our boilers, cookers and gas fires are safe. Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.  It is important to get your gas appliances serviced once a year by a gas safe registered engineer”.

Russell Krämer, chief executive for Gas Safe Register, said: “Every year, far too many people suffer from preventable gas related accidents, such as gas leaks, explosions, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s great therefore, that Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, has pledged its support and is raising awareness of gas safety issues, helping to let the 23 million gas consumers in the UK know about the simple checks they can make to stay safe.”

Follow these simple checks to stay gas safe:

  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. You can find a registered engineer in your area by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or visit
  • Get your gas appliances safety checked at least once a year and serviced in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. This includes your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire. Sign up at for a free reminder service.
  • Check the front and back of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card, making sure they are qualified to do the specific type of gas work you require.
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if dangerous levels are present in your home.
  • Check for warning signs your appliances aren’t working correctly, such as lazy yellow or orange flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.

For more information or to find Gas Safe registered engineer visit or call 0800 408 5500 or visit the HWFRS website


Making a clean sweep for safety

Wednesday 3 September

With summer drawing to a close, Chimney Fire Safety Week (8 –14 September) provides a timely reminder to make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months ahead.  As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep. 

Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience.  With the numbers of people using open fires growing, the Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips for safer chimneys.

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
  • Make sure embers are properly put out  before you go to bed
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

Station Commander Alan Haley from Community Safety, HWFRS explains:  “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again.  In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home.” 

Station Commander Haley continued: “Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable”.

“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.”

He urged people to give proper consideration to all aspects of safety when installing woodburning stoves and flues. He recommended using an approved engineer from HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme) who will ensure that appliances and flues are installed safely and that the proper insulated flue liners are used and correctly fitted.

For more information on fire safety please visit or the Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service website


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