HWFRS plea to take extra care after spate of RTCs as well as two woodburning stove incidents

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Among numerous callouts, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service responded to a spate of road traffic collisions (RTCs) involving some 12 vehicles over Friday and the weekend, as well as two woodburning stove incidents.

The incidents took place amid extreme winter conditions and Met Office Yellow Weather Warnings, among snow, ice and temperatures well below freezing in various parts of our area.

The RTCs took place right across our area, involving vehicle collisions, vehicle and motorcycle fires, vehicles hitting a building and a telegraph pole, and landing on their side, upside down and in a ditch.

The woodburning stove fires involved a fire in a chimney stack and one extending to roof space, much of which was destroyed.

The Met Office forecast is for the icy weather conditions to continue at least for the next few days, and they have extended the cold weather Alert Level 3 until 0900 on Friday (16 December).

The immediate forecast is for temperatures to fall well below freezing, giving a sharp frost and a risk of icy patches, with freezing fog thickening and re-forming to give some areas a murky night. Wednesday to Friday are expected to stay cold with sharp overnight frosts.

We’re therefore again urging people to exercise extreme caution as the severe winter weather continues.

Top Tips to stay safe:

  • Pay attention to the changing road, traffic and weather conditions: be ready to slow down and take extra care when necessary, particularly on bends and exposed roads
  • Check your vehicle is winter-ready and always carry your emergency kit
  • Check traffic and weather updates before you set off AND en route
  • Check the tyre tread on your vehicles.
  • Defrost your vehicle windows fully before driving and brush snow off all surfaces – compacted snow falling off can endanger other road users
  • Drive carefully especially on frosty mornings where you may encounter black ice
  • Keep extra food, water, clothing and blankets in your car
  • Wear sturdy footwear
  • Keep your distance and watch your speed
  • Check gritting routes on council websites for Herefordshire or Worcestershire
  • Let someone know your destination and when you plan to arrive
  • Know who to call out in case of breakdowns!

Area Commander George Marshall, HWFRS Assistant Director for Protection, said:

“The extreme winter weather is forecast to continue for several days, and is likely to be repeated as winter bites.

“So please take extra care, both to stay safe and avoid putting yourselves, the fire service or other emergency services in unnecessary danger. If you’re making necessary road trips, please follow our road safety guidance, and if you’re using woodburning stoves, please make sure you’ve had your chimney swept and there is no wood nearby that could catch fire.

“Further information on how to stay safe and avoid putting yourself in danger when out and about, especially on the roads, is on our website at Road safety | Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (hwfire.org.uk)

Further safety advice can be found at www.hwfire.org.uk, www.gov.uk/firekills or by calling the Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155.

You can also track weather forecasts and any cold weather warnings from the Met Office at UK weather warnings – Met Office.