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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.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service warns about home safety as Autumn approaches

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service warns about home safety as Autumn approaches

As Autumn is approaching, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is asking the county’s residents to be prepared in the home.

When the time comes for us all to consider using our heating more we need to make sure we have prepared for them to be safe to use. It is important to highlight two Safety weeks.


Chimney Fire Safety Week

Chimney Fire Safety Week (9–15 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, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service 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

Doug Underwood, Community Safety Manager at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, 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.”

  • Smokeless coals At least once a year
  • Wood Up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal Twice a year
  • Oil Once a year
  • Gas Once a year


Chimney sweep
Doug added: “Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable. In Norfolk during the 12 months of 2013/14, we attended seven chimney fires and there were others we were not called to.

“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 poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.”

Gas Safety Week

As part of the Fire Kills campaign, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service have 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. In Norfolk, between April 2012 and March 2014 there were 14 incidents attended by the Fire and Rescue Service involving carbon monoxide.

Paul Smyth, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Many of us probably don’t want to start thinking about putting the heating on and lighting fires to keep warm yet, but as the temperature has dropped in recent weeks it is important to be prepared.

“I would urge people to take heed of the advice from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Kills campaign. Ensuring you are ready for the winter months will ultimately lead to a safer home and by having those preparations in place it could prove to be less costly in the long run.”

People can sign up to a free reminder service at www.StayGasSafe.co.uk and use the interactive gas map to see how many unsafe gas appliances are lurking in an area.

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 Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, 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 www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk
  • 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 www.staygassafe.co.uk 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 www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service issue warning on Cooking Safely this summer

Safety first for summer cooking

Cooking Safety - Cooking with childrenWith the summer holidays in full swing, many children across Norfolk will be spending more time in the kitchen.

But whether they’re lending a hand or simply seeking a snack, it’s important to make sure that they know the hazards of a hot hob.

So as part of the Fire Kills campaign, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is asking parents and carers to make any kitchen activities a chance for kids to learn this summer.

Doug. Underwood, Community Safety Manager said: “From bake-offs to barbecues, there are lots of creative ways to teach kids about cooking fire safety this summer. And, it’s absolutely vital that they know what to do if the worst should happen.

“So alongside the melting, mixing and making, why not take the chance to pass on your fire safety knowhow? Test your smoke alarm as part of the activity. And remember, never leave a child alone with a hot hob, and help keep them safe by moving matches and saucepan handles out of their reach.”

And the kids don’t have to be in the kitchen to change the way you work in the summer - Distraction while cooking is a main cause of fire call-outs right across the country.

Doug. Underwood continued: “Over half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like phone calls or family. In Norfolk between April 2013 and March 2014 there were 263 fires involving a cooking appliance. This is 61% of all incidents in that year. In the first three months since April this year there has been 76 fires involving cooking appliances which relate to a massive 72% of all of our incidents. So whatever happens elsewhere in the house, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.

The Fire Kills campaign’s top tips for staying safe in the kitchen this summer are:

  • Take care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking. Take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • If a pan catches fire, don’t take any risks – Get Out, Stay Out, and Call 999.
  • Double check the hob is off when you’ve finished cooking.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing – this can easily catch fire.
  • Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  • Take care with electrics - leads and appliances away from water and place grills and away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
  • Keep your equipment clean and in good working order. A build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.
  • Hot oil can catch fire easily - be careful that it doesn’t overheat. 
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire. 
  • In the event of a fire, have an escape plan in place. 
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999. 
  • Get a smoke alarm and test it weekly.

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

 

 

Inspiring youngsters complete passing out parade after first Team Programme

TEARS welled in the eyes of families, friends and youth leaders of 14 young people as they completed their passing out parade of the first ever Prince’s Trust Fenland Team programme.

Fenland Princes Trust Team

The participants – all aged between 17 and 25 and from Fenland – completed a perfect fire drill at Wisbech Fire Station before taking to the microphone to tell the audience of nearly 200 people about their 12-week journey on the course.

This is the first time blue light services had come together in Cambridgeshire to deliver the programme. It is run by Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), with partners Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and The College of West Anglia.

The Prince's Trust Team programme is a 12-week personal development course which aims to increase confidence, motivation and skills and as a result, enables young people to then gain employment, move into education or undertake training or an apprenticeship.

Twice a week throughout the course the participants engaged with firefighters at Wisbech in drills and development exercises, which culminated in them performing an intricately planned drill at their passing out parade.

Wisbech’s Watch Commander John Chelton was overwhelmed with the thanks the crew received from the young people. He said: “When they first arrived, we were a bit worried. They all have their own personal issues and we didn’t know how we as a fire service would be able to help them.

“Seeing them overcome personal fears and demons and develop into these wonderful people is so rewarding. They work as a team, look out for each other, support the weaknesses and apply the strengths – it really has been an incredible journey and we’re honoured to have been part of it.”

The final presentation on Thursday (August 7) was an emotional time for those involved as the young people told heart-wrenching stories of the hand life had dealt them. However, thanks to the leadership, development and support of The Prince’s Trust Team programme, three months on and many have learned more about themselves, changed their behaviours and harnessed their skills to move forward with their life and careers.

One of the participants, Aston Gibb, told of how he thought his life was on a downward spiral. The 20-year-old, who now has a job working in a supermarket, said: “Before I came on this course, I thought my life had come to an end. I thought there was no hope of me sorting myself out. It seemed the only path for me was the wrong one that would lead me to a life of grief.

“I have now realised that just being myself will make me more of a man than any money, clothes or rude boy image could ever do. Thank you to all of those who made this journey possible and who never threw in the towel on me.”

Eighteen-year-old Sophie Freeman, along with all of the other young people, talked about how the group of 14 individuals had now become a tight-knit group of friends who helped each through tough the times.

She said: “This course has been amazing. In fact, it’s been more than that; it’s been life changing. Before the course I was abrupt and in a complete muddled. I was a shell of a person.

“The main thing I’ve learned on the course is to believe. Not just in myself, but in others as well. Over the last 12 weeks I’ve come to realise that not only can I do things, but I can do a pretty fine job of them. My next steps are scary but I know I’ll get there. I’m back to college in September and then fingers crossed off to university.

“It’s strange starting to feel like you have a purpose again after so long of just being absolutely useless, but I like it. I’m starting to move forward in my life and I’m finally becoming the person I want to be. That silver lining is getting bigger and bigger and for once in my life I feel free of my insecurities.”

Team Leader Steve Lucas, from NFRS, explained: “This is about young people developing and moving on into positive outcomes. This multi-agency approach was about achieving the best outcomes and support for the Fenland young people and I feel we have done that to a very high standard.”

NFRS has run the scheme in Norfolk for 10 years with more than 1,000 young people completing the programme. It was expanded in Fenland after a need was identified by local organisations and it is hoped this is the first in a number of groups to benefit from the programme.

Police Constable Carole Langton, who was seconded to the scheme from Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said the programme has been amazing. She explained: “The young people have come on in a massive way on each of their respective personal journeys.

“I’ve been blown away by the partnership working with Fenland council workers, emergency services and the local employers and organisations who have contributed to the experiences of these young people. Everyone has really supported us and got behind the programme and it’s been a delight working with The Prince’s Trust.”

Cambridgeshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland attended the passing out ceremony and said: “The stories of these young people are staggering, but what is even greater is the way they have changed as individuals and developed as members of our community.

“This is a great example of partnership working to maximise our resources and deliver creative schemes like this one to communities most at risk.”

Nigel Williams, Chief Fire Officer at Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service commented: "This is the first time we have worked in partnership with other blue light services of this kind in Cambridgeshire. It's been a great example of maximising our resources by working more closely with colleagues from organisations out of the county. More importantly though, the Fenland Programme has allowed 14 young people to complete a personal development course to boost their skills for the future and help them get into employment, education or training.”

Lucy McDowie, Partnership Supervisor at CWA, said: “We are delighted to be able to extend our support of the Prince’s Trust Team Programme into Wisbech, offering young people in Fenland a fantastic opportunity to gain new skills and qualifications. We would like to thank Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cambridgeshire Constabulary for all of their support in making this such a huge success.”

Participants took part in teambuilding activities, a week-long residential, a community project, work placements, careers advice and support, presentation skills and team challenges. At the end of the course students can also gain a Prince’s Trust Certificate in Employment, Teamwork and Community skills and an Emergency First Aid Certificate.

The programme is funded by Circle Housing Roddons, NFRS, the Robert Hall Trust and Wisbech Town Council.


Take care with candles during ‘lights out’ remembrance

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are reminding those taking part in the WW1 ‘Lights Out’ remembrance campaign today, Monday (August 4), to take extra care with their candles. 

Lights Out is a national initiative that marks 100 hundred years since the outbreak of World War 1 when then British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, famously remarked: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."

As a mark of remembrance the Royal British Legion is encouraging people to turn off their lights on Monday from 10pm - 11pm leaving a single light or candle on for a shared moment of reflection.

With over fifty fires started nationally by candles every day, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are asking people to take a little extra care if they are planning to join this remembrance campaign by lighting a candle.

There were 9 accidental fires in the home in Norfolk during 2013/14 involving matches/candles and 1 in the first 3 months of this year.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Head of Community Safety, Stuart Horth, said:

“We certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from taking part in this national moment of reflection; we just want to remind people to take care if they are planning to light a candle. We would encourage people to use battery powered lights or candles instead to remove any risk”
“It's important to be careful if you are using candles please keep them well away from curtains and out of the reach of pets and children. Most of all, remember to extinguish your candles if you leave the room - it only takes a moment for a fire to start."

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service offers this easy to follow advice:

  • Try to use a light without a flame wherever possible
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Always place candles and tea lights well away from curtains, furniture or flammable materials and always out of draughts
  • Always place candles upright in suitable holders on a stable surface
  • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets
  • Ensure that candles and tea light are placed in suitable heat resistant holders 
  • Working smoke alarms save lives, make sure your home and loved ones are protected. 

Visit http://www.norfolkfireservice.gov.uk/nfrs/your-safety for a full range of FREE fire safety advice.

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