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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.

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.


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.

 

 

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has two new four-legged recruits ready to jump into action

Paolo, a white and black Springer Spaniel, is the second search dog for the Service joining the Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR).

The 18-month old, who's official title is ‘Forensic Evidence and Victim Search Dog’, will mainly be used to locate people trapped in collapsed buildings as well as assisting with other rescue work. He is also specialised in blood detection, as well as searching for bodies in and out of water.

Paolo will join the Service’s other dog Hooky who is USAR’s current search and rescue dog. Hooky who is a six year old black Labrador, joined Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service in 2010 and is used to find live casualties.

Jackson, a 17-week old black Labrador, is the Fire and Rescue Service’s second new recruit and as a Fire Investigation Dog will be trained to help investigate fires by detecting accelerant which may have been used in cases of arson.

After 18 months to two years’ of specialist training to develop his acute sniffing skills, Jackson will work alongside Ben, the current Fire Investigation Dog.

Paolo’s handler Steve Polley said: “Paolo is a great dog. He has a fantastic personality which is well suited to his job. He is very enthusiastic and loves coming to work.

“We have both just finished our nine-week training course in Northumbria so it won’t be too long before Paolo will be able to start his formal work. A lot of this work will be with the dive team.”

Jackson’s handler Peter Abbs said: “It’s still early days as at the moment Jackson has had no formal training yet. He’s currently being socialised – coming to work with me and getting used to people.

“He still has a little way to go until he is fully trained and can be used in real life situations, but I’m sure he will develop into an excellent Fire Investigation Dog and become a hugely important asset to the team.”

Paolo and Jackson are highly skilled and join the elite canine squad of dogs among England's fire and rescue services.

Cllr Paul Smyth, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Specialist dogs and their handlers are important assets that undertake vital roles for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. The dogs are used in situations which would otherwise prove difficult for firefighters and it is good news that we have two new recruits to add to the excellent work carried out by our existing dog teams."


** Members of the media are invited to a photo call at:

Bowthorpe Training and Development Centre, Bowthorpe Employment Estate, Barnard Road, NR5 9JB on Tuesday 5 August at 10am.

Paolo, Jackson, Ben, Hooky and dog handlers Steve Polley and Peter Abbs will be available for photos. Training exercises will also be carried out by the dogs. **

 

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.

National FBU Strike Action - August 2014

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced that its members will be taking further strike action between the 9th August and 16th August at the following times:

 

  • Commencing 9th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 9th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 9th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 9th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 10th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 10th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 10th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 10th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 11th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 11th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 11th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 11th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 12th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 12th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 12th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 12th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 13th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 13th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 13th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 13th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 14th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 14th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 14h August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 14th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 15th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until15th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 15th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 15th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs
  • Commencing 16th August 2014 from 12.00 hours until 16th August 2014 at 14.00 hrs
  • Commencing 16th August 2014 from 22.59 hours until 16th August 2014 at 23.59 hrs

 

The dispute is not between the FBU and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, although services in the County are likely to be affected.

Fire and Rescue cover in the event of a strike

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has a legal duty to provide the county of Norfolk with an emergency fire and rescue service and we have taken action to ensure the continuing provision of a reduced service during the strike.

Steps have been taken to provide a level of fire cover in Norfolk however this is likely to be reduced.

Levels of response

The level of response available from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service during any period of industrial action does not affect the likelihood of a fire occurring in your home, a workplace or other premises. However, the vigilance and management of responsible persons can reduce the risk of fire.

Calling 999

The 999/112 system will continue to operate as normal.

During periods of strike action it is foreseeable that:

  • Fire Brigade attendance times to some incidents will increase
  • Only a contingency level of service will be available
  • Crews attending may not be familiar with premises or the local geography

Fire Safety in Your Home

Whilst the risk from fire in your home remains unchanged, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service advises that during any period when an emergency response may be delayed, our communities should remain extra vigilant and follow all relevant fire safety advice.

We provide comprehensive guidance to support your safety in the event of fire; these can be found in the Your Safety section.

This guidance is designed to:

  • Help you prevent fire occurring in your home.
  • Tell you what to do if fire does break your in your home.

Key Messages from our fire safety guidance

  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms regularly.
  • Never leave lit candles or cooking unattended.
  • Put cigarettes out – right out.
  • Plan your escape route – and make sure all your family know it.
  • Make sure you don't overload electrical sockets and watch out for faulty electrical equipment.
  • Be sensible when using BBQs and lighting any fires outdoors – avoid bonfires.
  • Treat all flammable materials with care – both using and storing them.
  • If you plan to use fireworks please look at our guidance here.

Business response

Business will still have a duty to comply with fire safety legislation. The Service provides comprehensive guidance and support on how you should comply with your legal duties. These can be found in our Business Fire Safety Section.

In addition, we urge all businesses to consider the following Key Messages during periods of industrial action:

  • Review your fire risk assessment and make sure it is current.
  • Ask staff to be vigilant to the risk of fire and report any concerns.
  • Check your fire detection system is working effectively and ensure everyone in the building understands what they need to do should it activate.
  • Make sure fire fighting equipment works and everyone expected to use it knows how to do so safely.
  • Make sure fire evacuation plans are in place and employees know what to do.
  • Keep escape routes free from obstacles.Keep fire doors shut.
  • Reduce fire hazards - keep sources of ignition away from flammable materials or substances.
  • Avoid arson risks, such as rubbish left around.
  • Delay activities if they have an increased risk of fire associated with them (e.g. hot cutting or hot works).

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