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Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is committed to working towards making Norfolk safer

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There's always plenty going on at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. From our interactive Crucial Crew for youngsters to the Norfolk Show, from station open days to safety initiatives there is a great deal to discover behind the blue lights.

Fakenham firefighters swap engines for endurance in epic charity cycle ride

Firefighters from Fakenham Fire Station will be cycling 400 miles visiting all 42 Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service stations next month in aid of the Firefighters Charity.

Starting on Friday 22 May, the group of Firefighters will be hopping on their bikes taking it in turns to complete the four-day stint around the county. In order to maintain operational cover within Fakenham and the surrounding areas, some members of the crew will not be riding the full distance on the road. They will however cover the equivalent mileage on static bikes in locations around Fakenham.

A communications system will be used between the two groups so the static group know the whereabouts of the group on the roads at any one time.

The Firefighters will finish their challenge on Bank Holiday Monday, marking the first anniversary of a significant fire which took place at the former historic Aldiss building in the town.

 Fakenham firefighters swap engines for endurance in epic charity cycle ride

Fakenham Fire Station Crew Manager Darren Leach is one of the organisers of the endurance event, and said: “As a busy market town we regularly respond to support the local community as well as the wider community of Norfolk. Last year many of us were involved in the devastating fire in the market place and the response from businesses, our neighbours, friends and family was immense and we thank you sincerely.

“This challenge finishes a year on from that tragic day so it would be great to see as many people as possible at the finish line. We hope to raise as much money as possible for the Fire Fighters Charity.”

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are holding other events to help raise money for the Firefighters Charity and promote the Endurance Challenge:

  • On Saturday 25 April, the Fakenham Fire Station crews will be at Barclays Bank in the town centre with their static bikes to raise awareness of their four-day cycle challenge. Firefighters will be inside the bank between 9am and 2pm.
  • On Saturday 3 May, collection buckets will be at Fakenham Fire Station’s Open Day between 10am and 4pm. Members of the Service’s Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) and the Fire Experience Unit will be in attendance. There will also be demonstrations and a BBQ.
  • On Saturday 10 May, the Fakenham Fire Station crews will be at Morrisons in the town with their static bikes to raise awareness of their four-day cycle challenge. Firefighters will be inside the shop between 9am and 4pm.

In addition to Firefighters raising money, a number of businesses in the town are supporting the cause. Staff at the Original Factory Shop in Fakenham will be cycling on static exercise bikes over the four days in the store; Barclays Bank has agreed to match the amount of money Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service raises through the endurance cycle ride up to £1,000; and the Aldiss family will be supporting the event on the day when the Firefighters return to Fakenham.

Norfolk’s Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams said: “We have had fantastic support from several local organisations and I would like to thank them all for their kind support.  “The Fire Fighters Charity can provide a real lifeline both retired and serving Firefighters. It is a cause which can make a difference to the lives of Firefighters themselves as well as their family members.  Colleagues at our Fakenham station have worked tremendously hard to organise a fantastic event which I hope people will support. Hopefully the weather will also be on our side over the Bank Holiday weekend.” 

Branch Manager of Barclays in Fakenham Brendan Jeffs will be on one of the static bikes tomorrow in the bank, and said: “Barclays is really pleased that it can support the Fire and rescue Service during this event. After last year’s tragedy it is important the town can come together and try and raise money for one of our local emergency services and show community spirit after a tough year. Without these services the events of last year could have turned out completely differently and we commend the fire service for their swift action. As an organisation it is important we give back what we can and support our local community wherever possible. We are looking forward to the events and hope to see many faces to help support a truly worthy cause.”

Tim Summers Company Secretary at Aldiss said: “This is such a great event to mark the anniversary of the Fakenham fire. To organise a sponsored cycle ride in a year when the Tour of Britain is also coming to Fakenham is excellent. We hope that everything runs smoothly and a lot of money is raised for such a good cause.”

A justgiving page has been set up for people to support the Endurance Challenge and donate to the Fire FightersCharity: www.justgiving.com/fakenhamfirefighters42

On Saturday 11 April, more than £998 was raised while the Fakenham crews were at Tescos in the town. The supermarket themselves kindly donated £200 for the Fire Fighters Charity.

The Fire Fighters Charity provides support to injured serving and retired firefighters, support staff and their families, through three dedicated centres offering a range of support programmes including physical rehabilitation and recuperations.

The charity offers vital support services across the UK for all firefighters, assisting in excess of 17,500 individuals every year.

 

Busy times for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service dogs

 

Norfolk’s Fire and Rescue Service dogs have had a busy few months providing essential support for the Service as well as Norfolk Constabulary for the safety of local communities.

Paolo, a black and white Springer Spaniel, is now fully trained and has been operational since July 2014. He joined the Fire and Rescue Service as their second search dog within the Urban Search and Rescue Team.  

The two year old, whose official title is ‘Forensic Evidence and Victim Search Dog’, is mainly being used to locate high risk missing persons as well as assisting with other recovery work.  He is also specialised in blood detection and searches for bodies in and out of water.   Paolo is the only specialised Fire and Rescue Service dog of his kind in the UK.

 

The majority of incidents Paolo has attended have been in Norfolk, but his specialist canine skills have also been used in Hertfordshire.  Paolo is used along with Hooky who is USAR’s other search and rescue dog. Hooky who is a seven year old black Labrador, joined Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service in 2010 and helps find live casualties.

Ben, the current Fire Investigation Dog, attends incidents where he uses his canine skills to detect potential arson. The seven year old black Cocker Spaniel has been with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service since June 2012.

Paolo and Ben have attended 19 incidents in total since July last year, including several outside of the county.

Jackson, a one year old black Labrador, has started his formal training to be the Service’s second Fire Investigation Dog. It is hoped he will be qualified in August this year. He will then work alongside Ben to help investigate fires by detecting accelerant which may have been used in cases of arson.

Paolo’s handler Steve Polley said: “He has been excellent and is certainly a dog you can rely on. Since completing his training, Paolo has been called upon to attend a number of real-life incidents and his enthusiasm for work continues.

“All of the dogs are a huge asset to Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service as well as the police, working closely with our dive team. Their skills are being called upon more and more. One recent incident involved four consecutive days of search and rescue.“

Ben’s handler Peter Abbs said: “Ben continues to be a valuable member of the Fire Investigation Team within Norfolk. His ability to quickly search a fire scene and determine whether any traces of an accelerant liquid is present speeds up the whole investigation process and enables more accurate samples being sent off for analysis. Without doubt, if an ignitable fluid is used to start a fire then the chances of being caught have increased dramatically since Ben became a member of the fire investigation team.”

Norfolk is the only Fire and Rescue Service in the East of England to have an operational dog unit.

Live fire training given the go ahead at Scottow Enterprise Park

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has been given the green light to conduct live fire training at Scottow Enterprise Park to ensure fire crews and firefighters are trained to the highest standard.


Norfolk County Council agreed to the proposals at its Planning Committee meeting last month (Friday 20 February) allowing the Service to operate on site for a 15 year period.


The training facility will be located in the eastern part of the site, outside the perimeter track, previously used by the RAF for live fire training and where temporary training facility for NFRS has been permitted. The facility includes the live fire training facility, plus use of two nearby buildings for briefing, mess and storage purposes.


Chairman of Norfolk County Council's Economic Sub Committee Cllr Bev Spratt said: “There has been increased activity on site as a result of us gaining more business interest, especially in the technical area. However, this contract will see Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service operate on areas of hard-standing on the site which have limited use. So this is obviously welcomed news as it’s going to provide income for Norfolk County Council, but will also give the Fire and Rescue Service the opportunity to conduct live fire training at the same site for a significant length of time.

"Our Fire and Rescue Service do an excellent job and I always like to support the Service wherever I can. These new training facilities provide an good opportunity to keep their technical skills up to a high standard.”

Greg Preston, Head of Training and Development for NFRS, said: "Advances in building fire safety standards and enhanced public awareness through fire safety education have seen a reduction in the number of significant fires in Norfolk in recent years. Exposing firefighters to live fire is vital for experiential learning, and these new facilities will ensure we remain focused on firefighter safety and that this contributes to all operational staff gaining this exposure in a controlled learning environment.”


In recent years there has been a reduction in structure fires in Norfolk. This means firefighters are no longer frequently exposed to significant fires and associated experiential learning that assists them to safely apply their training.


NFRS were using Norwich Airport, and more recently, former RAF Coltishall to conduct essential basic fire behaviour training. However, the Service requires more extensive facilities that can be used to reflect a range of realistic and challenging real fire scenarios in larger, more complex buildings. This improved training will be delivered in the form of a dedicated, multi-level, live fire training structure on a site that will allow fires to be set without negatively impacting on members to the public and neighbouring businesses.

In summary, the training will deliver the following benefits:

  • Economic – Ensuring fire crews and firefighters are trained to the highest standard to help mitigate the significant cost of fire damage in buildings. 
  • Social – Maintaining firefighters’ skills to protect residents of the county and limit risk of loss of life or serious injury. 
  • Environmental – Re-using a site previously used for training and installing a structure which will allow fire crews to be trained in scenarios that will best equip them for dealing with incidents involving heritage assets throughout the county. 

Chief Fire Officer Nigel Williams said: “Although we deliver a comprehensive training programme to train firefighters in how to wear breathing apparatus in structure fires and command incidents, the Service is unable to realistically replicate the challenging conditions the firefighters may be confronted with in their current training buildings.


“This new facility gives us the ability to burn Class A products such as wood and paper away from residential and sensitive sites. It will make a huge difference to our training provision ensuring those who are out on the frontline continue to be trained to the highest standard possible, which I hope will provide reassurance to the residents of Norfolk.”

Live fire training given the go ahead at Scottow Enterprise Park

TICK TOCK TEST your smoke alarms when you change your clocks

PLEDGE TO TEST your smoke alarms when you change your clocks. We all lose an hour’s sleep on Sunday, 29 March – make sure you don’t lose more. 

Tick Tock Test your smoke alarms

International Women's Day Celebrations at The Forum

International Women's Day Poster

International Women’s Day Celebrations - an event to inspire women and celebrate their achievements

We are excited to be participating in this year’s International Women’s Day.  We’d love you to visit us, you will have the opportunity to meet some of our female retained (on-call) firefighters and find out what they do and why they chose to become a retained firefighter.  There will also be a huge range of activities throughout the day - films, talks, workshops, women’s history, global and local exhibitions to name but a few. 

 

When:            Wednesday 11th March 09:00 to 17:00

 

Where:           The Forum Norwich NR2 1TF

 

To find out more go to:  www.theforumnorwich.co.uk

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