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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.

Call to young people in Breckland to learn new skills and boost their careers

Young people in Breckland are being given the opportunity to boost their skills and confidence to help their careers by taking part in The Prince’s Trust Team programme delivered by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

The Team programme currently runs three times a year (January, May and September) in the Breckland area and the next one will be starting on Monday 12 May. Therefore, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are calling on young people to get in touch and sign up.

The Team programme is a 12-week personal development course for young people aged between 16-25 who are not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). The programme is designed to increase young people’s confidence, motivation and skills and as a result enable young people to move into employment, education, training, volunteering and apprenticeships.

Over the course, young people will participant in a week’s residential, community project, voluntary work placements, engage with local groups and been given assistance with job searching skills.

Scott Codling, 24, attended the Team programme last year and said: “Before taking part in the programme, I was finding it impossible to find employment. During the course I was given the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and take part in team building exercises. The highlight for me was going away for a week with my team, having fun but at the same time learning more about myself.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and getting back into a routine ready for work. I am now a Grounds Maintenance Gardener for a nationwide company and am currently undertaking my level 2 NVQ in Horticulture. This is all thanks to The Prince’s Trust Team programme, showing me I have what it takes to get my head down and to work hard. Without the staff who worked with me and the programme, I dread to think where my life would be now.”

Previous team member in the Breckland area, 22 year old Melanie Badman, said: “I joined the Team Programme because I wanted to get out of a rut and see what the course could offer me. The course gave me motivation and a realisation that I could achieve more than I had previous thought. The most beneficial parts of the course for me were the two weeks work placement and the assistance I was given with job searching, updating my CV and developing my interview skills.

“The course gave me experiences that I could relate to a work environment and give as examples in interviews. I have now been employed for six months with a national insurance company and have already been promoted due to my communication and leadership skills, things I learnt on the course. The programme has a clear structure and is tailored to the teams’ needs making it more beneficial. I would definitely recommend the course to other people.”

Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “The Team programme is all about helping young people realise their potential, through new experiences and identifying their hidden talents. It’s therefore great to see so many young people go onto employment, education or apprenticeships after completing the programme with the county’s fire and rescue service. Scott and Melanie are just a couple of examples of what young people can achieve if they are given a little support and the right guidance.”

Three in four young people helped by The Prince's Trust move into work, education or training.

The Breckland Prince’s Trust Team programme will be starting on 12 May. To find out more about the programme and how to get involved contact:

Telephone: Dereham Team, 07795 067383, Thetford Team, 07920 792226 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

View the Prince's Trust information here

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service warns smoking is the biggest house fire killer

Smokers are being warned to wake up to the deadly dangers of smoking and to ‘Put it Out, Right Out’ whenever they light up - especially when tired.

As part of the national Fire Kills campaign in April, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting that a third of all fatal house fires are caused by smoking.

Doug Underwood, Community Safety Team Manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Every six days in England, someone dies from a fire caused by cigarettes or smoking materials. Despite a fall in the overall number of fires caused by these products, it’s still the biggest killer in accidental fires in the home across the country.

"Every smoker should wake up to the risks they take every time they light up, and drop the habit of smoking whilst in bed or under the influence of alcohol. The risk of falling asleep before you ‘put it out, right out’ is just too great. When smokers fall asleep with a lit cigarette in hand, their proximity to the resulting fire seriously lowers their chance of escaping in time.

"Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke can render you unconscious, so invest in a working smoke alarm and test it monthly. It can give you the extra time you need to escape if the worst should happen."

In Norfolk in 2012/13 four people lost their lives due to an accidental house fire, three of these in fires caused by smoking materials. In Norfolk in 2012/13, 17% of all fires were caused by smoking.

Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: "People often do not see the dangers in the things they do every day such as smoking, so the fact that so many people lose their life or are injured in fires caused by smoking may come as a shock.

"But by following the advice from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service you can help to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. And by having that working smoke alarm you are at least four times less likely to die in an accidental fire in the home."

These simple steps can help prevent a cigarette fire in the home:

  • Never smoke in bed. Take care when you’re tired – it’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight
  • Never smoke when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If your lit cigarette starts a fire you could be less able to escape

  • Put it out, right out! Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished 

  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it weekly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999

  • Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down.

  • Use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t tip over easily and is made of a material that won’t burn

Smoking in Bed

Test your smoke alarm

In England in 2012-13, accidental fires resulting from smoking materials made up 33% of all fatalities in the home (60 out of 174). In addition, a further 3% (5) were from accidental fires started by cigarette lighters and matches.

Nationally only fires from cooking appliances and ‘other electrical appliances’ caused more non-fatal casualties than smokers’ materials.

Tick Tock Test... Test your smoke alarms this weekend

Tick Tock Test Poster

TICK, TOCK, TEST! Before it’s too late.

Test your smoke alarm this clock change weekend.

The Fire Kills campaign is again encouraging people to test their smoke alarms when they change their clocks this coming clock change weekend.

Smoke alarms save lives, but only if they work, With 211 people dying in fires in their homes last year, and over 70% not being alerted to the fire by a smoke alarm, it is essential that people test their smoke alarms regularly.

A working smoke alarm can buy you and your family the valuable time you need to get out, stay out and call 999.

You’re four times more likely to survive a fire if you have a working smoke alarm.

Downham Market update and FAQ's

On 11 March 2014 Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service responded to reports of a building fire in Downham Market.  This fire resulted in significant damage to the fire station on Ryston Close, Downham Market.  Resources from both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire assisted in successfully preventing the spread of fire to neighbouring properties although we were unable to prevent significant fire damage to both the Station and the fire appliance.  We recognise the importance of keeping local residents up to speed with development and what the future may look like for Downham Market Fire Station for this reason we have decided to create frequently asked questions and over the coming weeks/months we intend to also update you with a blog, here

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to respond to Peer Challenge

A Peer Challenge assessing the operational effectiveness of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has now concluded and the findings will be discussed by Councillors next week (Wednesday 2 April).

The Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Panel, which takes place at 10am on Wednesday 2 April at County Hall, Norwich will look at the report which is as a result of the Local Government (LGA) and Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) four-day Peer Challenge (Tuesday 28 - Friday 31 January).

The Peer Challenge was requested by NFRS and combined a comprehensive assessment of the operational effectiveness of the Service as well as an assessment of the Fire Authority – Norfolk County Council. It is not a formal assessment or inspection but an opportunity for the Fire and Rescue Service to improve their services based upon the observations of critical friends.

The Peer Challenge Team carried out a number of activities including: interviews and focus groups with all levels of NFRS personnel, fact-finding visits to wholetime and retained (full time and part time) fire and rescue stations, focus groups with partner agencies, and interviews with Norfolk County Council’s Acting Managing Director, Chair of the Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Panel and Cabinet Member for Public Protection.

Overall the assessment team were very positive about NFRS and highlighted a number of strengths and good examples of working, which included:

  • Clear set of Prevention priorities that are articulated through the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2014/17 and clearly understood by staff. 
  • Staff are well trained, highly motivated and committed to delivering an effective service. 
  • The Service is trusted by senior management at Norfolk County Council and members hold the service in high regard. 
  • Collaboration with adult social care and mental health services on protecting vulnerable people. 
  • Multi-agency working, resilience and response e.g. December tidal surge. 
  • There is an increasingly tight management grip on key challenges to the Service. 
  • High quality equipment and highly skilled firefighters. 
  • The Fire Intelligence Unit provides high quality information and analysis on performance and risk to inform decisions. 
  • Positive engagement with Trade Unions.

Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer at Norfolk County Council, said: “We felt it was important to give ourselves the opportunity to really look in depth at the service we provide. So by hosting a peer challenge allowed us to independently test our self-awareness and identify areas where we could improve.

“The results of the challenge are not a surprise but the findings have revealed some useful areas for us to consider and work on such as developing a longer term vision for the service, developing our approach to information management, and prioritising strategic projects. These will be taken forward in an action plan.

“It is the first time we have been challenged in this way and I’m pleased so many colleagues gave up their time to speak with the inspectors and provide honest and invaluable feedback.”

Dan Roper, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Norfolk County Council, said: “The Peer Review findings were of no real surprise to us. They have reinforced what we are good at and highlighted where we could improve further.

“We welcomed the opportunity for independent assessors to come and see how our Service operates and I’m pleased at the results. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is one of the best in the country and we can now use this feedback to further improve what we offer the people of Norfolk.”

The Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Panel will also scrutinise a report by the Service’s Chief Fire Officer which outlines scope for collaborative and joint working initiatives involving Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. The Service is currently actively pursuing a range of initiatives that will provide the opportunity for closer collaboration with Norfolk Constabulary, and with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service through the formal agreement on joint working between Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils.

In addition, Councillors will discuss the response by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to the tidal storm surge that affected the East coast of the county on 5 and 6 December 2013.

Councillors will also receive the Fire Authority’s Statement of Assurance that covers what they are doing to implement the local Integrated Risk Management Plan and to meet the requirements of the National Framework for Fire and Rescue Authorities 2012-2015.

The Statement of Assurance covers five key areas: financial information; governance arrangements; operational matters and the IRMP; National Framework requirements; and anticipated future developments and will be made public before the end of March 2014.

The Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Panel will meet in the Edwards Room at County Hall at 10am on Wednesday 2 April.

Links to reports:

Direct Gov | Our Disclaimer | Norfolk County Council

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