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15 June 2017 Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Local News


Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Press ReleasesUpdate regarding Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Services’ actions following Grenfell Tower fire, London.Top honour for dog who saved owners from a house fireAdvice to landlords and the public on fire safetyStatement re: London tower block incident – Grenfell TowerStreet Fire Station Open DayAppeal for on-call firefighters in CrewkerneCheck your boat for smooth sailing this summer!Will you be having a BBQ this weekend?Advice to businesses during the heightened Security terrorist threat level periodService warning on spontaneous combustion of tea towelsAppeal for on-call firefighters in HonitonFrome pupils take on fire challenge courseCheck that glass or make-up mirrors are kept away from the sunshine!Austrian hotel helps Frome Fire Cadets reach fundraising targetPlympton crew to take part in 24-hour charity runWill you be painting your thumb nail red?Fire and police collaboration benefits local communitiesFirefighters bravery and sacrifice honouredCharity and fire service team warn of wild fire threatPolice Commissioner visits 999 AcademySomerset school is recognised for its commitment to local communityEmergency services training exercise at WellsTeignmouth brothers complete London Marathon in Dad’s memoryDramatic rescues at Mayflower Water Treatment WorksGorse fires can happen in this dry weatherFrome fire cadets need to raise £6,000 on crowdfunder!Somerset care home fined £100,000 for breaching fire safety regulationsAdvice for owners of tumble dryersSafety advice following East Devon thatch fireNew motorbike for the fire bike teamVirtual reality headsets for road safetyTeignmouth crew manager to run London Marathon in Dad’s memoryPartnership press release: Parents across Devon and Cornwall asked to join the fight against Child Sexual ExploitationFive thatch fires so far this year!School pupils’ fire challenge courseCommunities defeat terrorism: make nothing happenFire Safety advice for businessesService recognises TTVS for its support towards home fire safetyBe flippin’ careful this Pancake DayPupils take part in Phoenix ProjectLandlady fined for ignoring improvement noticeNew technology helps contain leisure centre fireHave you checked your thatch roof is safe?Wheelie bin firesEnsuring fire safety in the homeHave a romantic and safe ValentinesWarning follows Exmouth fire started by phone chargerWould your business survive a fire?Barnstaple firefighters host Abbey Gateway ClubMajor exercise in Plymouth city centre

http://www.dsfire.gov.uk/news/newsdesk/pressreleases.cfm The latest news via press releases from DSFRS

Fire safety legislation, (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005), applies to a wide range of building occupancies; this includes the common areas of high rise residential premises.

The responsibility for ensuring that the requirements of the above legislation are met lies with the building owners.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service (DSFRS) has a duty to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

DSFRS have a robust, intelligence led, risk based, fire safety inspection strategy to ensure that a suitable of level of compliance is achieved in all buildings (where the legislation applies), especially where the risk of loss of life is highest.

There is no reason to consider that this existing strategy is not suitable.

In light of the fire at Grenfell Tower, in London, fire safety risk information held by DSFRS, has been reviewed for all known high rise premises in Devon and Somerset. Following this review, a bespoke risk based inspection programme has commenced, with a view to confirming that the current status of the building, and to give assurance to residents with regards to the appropriate fire procedures for their building.

This activity is being completed in liaison with building owners and local authorities.

DSFRS operational crews prepare for fires occurring in high rise buildings, by continually familiarising themselves with operational procedures and they train regularly on how to deal with fires in a high rise building.

Information held by DSFRS is gathered and made accessible to operational crews at any time, by means of a mobile data terminal.

28 high rise exercises have been carried out over the last 12 months with 2 major multi-agency exercises carried out in Plymouth. The most recent exercise involved over 100 firefighters, comprising 17 fire crews, from all over Devon and Somerset. This was carried out at the 14 storey former Civic Centre building in Plymouth.

Each one of these training events is designed to familiarise crews with the layout of the building, and associated risks, the construction, fire safety features and the operational procedure to implement in the event of a fire.

Learning from the exercises is incorporated in planning for real events and communicated to the building managers and occupants where necessary.

For advice on fire safety provision and emergency procedures for residential building please refer to our earlier press release.

For more press information please contact:

Paul Slaven

PR Officer

01392 872259

Keep up to date and follow ‘dsfireupdates’ on Twitter and Facebook

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Press Officer 15/06/2017
An extraordinary family dog from Dartmouth, Devon, has been honoured by leading vet charity PDSA for his life-saving devotion.

At a special ceremony in London, Staffordshire Bull terrier Diesel (who was cruelly abandoned, then rescued, as a puppy) became the latest recipient of the prestigious PDSA Gold Medal* – the animals’ George Cross.  Diesel’s award comes after he woke his family, saving their lives, when a terrifying fire ripped through their home. 

Commenting on the award, PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin said: “Despite having no formal training, Diesel’s actions showed incredible devotion to his family. His story is remarkable and truly demonstrates the unique contribution that animals make to our lives.”

Diesel’s story

During the early hours of Saturday 28 May 2016, Jordan Ash (25) was woken by his dog, Diesel, who had been sleeping at the foot of his bed.  Diesel – who was rescued by the Ash family after being abandoned when just months old – was barking, scratching and pulling at the duvet, desperate to wake his owner.

Jordan immediately knew something was seriously wrong, as Diesel’s behaviour was so out of character. He is usually very calm and relaxed, rarely barking. 

Jordan got up to take him downstairs but, on opening his bedroom door, he was met with a wall of flames only six feet away. He raced to wake up his parents, Chris (50) and Tina (54), shutting Diesel in his room to keep him safe.

Unable to use the stairs due to the fire, Jordan helped them escape through a small bedroom window over the kitchen roof.

Once they were safe he went back to collect Diesel. At this point he was almost overcome with the smoke and acrid fumes but managed to reach him.  He passed Diesel through the open window to his dad and they all climbed down to safety.

Jordan said: “Luckily, apart from a few bumps and bruises, probably from squeezing out of a tiny window, no one was seriously hurt. We all needed treatment for smoke inhalation but there was no lasting damage, thanks to Diesel.

“His whiskers were singed by the fire but we got him checked out by a vet the following day and he was fine.  I spent the next few weeks sleeping on sofas because we couldn’t find anywhere to stay that would take Diesel as well. After everything he had done for us there was no way I was going to leave him!”

The family later discovered that the fire had been caused when their fridge freezer, located under the stairs, caught alight.  It caused 60% fire damage and 90% smoke damage to their home. They weren’t able to move back in for ten months.

Chris Ash added: “”We have a smoke alarm, but I’d been decorating so I’d taken it down for a few days and not reconnected it. It’s not a mistake I will ever make again.  Without Diesel, the night could have ended very differently.” 

Jordan concluded: “I like to think it was his way of repaying us for rescuing him. Staffies have such a bad reputation but he has the most lovely, placid nature.  Diesel undoubtedly saved our lives that night: without him I wouldn’t be standing here today and I will be forever grateful.”

Read more about Diesel at .

Award Reaction

The prestigious PDSA Gold Medal was presented to Diesel at The Worshipful Company of Saddlers, London. 

PDSA Director General Jan McLoughlin said: “We are proud that Diesel has become the latest recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal. His determination and bravery in the face of a terrifying situation shows unwavering devotion to his family.”

“He joins an honourable line-up of dogs who, in their own unique and individual ways, have displayed incredible bravery and outstanding devotion.”

Crew Manager at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Andy Callan, added: “The fire caused extensive damage to the family’s home, blocking the staircase, meaning they were trapped on the first floor. When we arrived they had escaped from an upstairs window and needed medical treatment for smoke inhalation. Carbon monoxide takes effect incredibly quickly – just a few more minutes breathing in the toxic fumes and Diesel may not have been able to wake them. It shows the importance of having a working smoke alarm. Had Diesel not acted so quickly and woken Jordan that night, the family wouldn’t be with us today.”

PDSA Medals

Instituted in 2002, the PDSA Gold Medal is awarded to civilian animals for life-saving bravery and exceptional devotion to duty. The Medal is now widely recognised as the animals’ George Cross. Diesel is the 26th recipient of the PDSA Gold Medal, all of whom have been dogs.
 
For more information visit .  

Note to newsdesks

For further information contact the PDSA PR team on 01952 797246 or email .

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Press Officer 15/06/2017
Advice to landlords on fire safety

Following the tragic fire in London Grenfell Tower on 14 June, landlords of residential buildings may feel it necessary to seek advice on the required standards for the varied premises they manage. The DSFRS leaflet ‘’ is available by clicking on the link, and gives advice on the standards and direction to relevant national guidance.

Advice to members of public on fire safety

Following the tragic fire in London Grenfell Tower on 14June, member of the community may have concerns about the fire safety provision in the premises they live. DSFRS have issued a press release (available ) which gives advice on ‘stay put’ policies. More detailed information on fire safety in the home can be found by clicking on this link

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Press Officer 14/06/2017
Our thoughts are with all of those affected, their families and friends and our London Emergency Service colleagues, following the tragic incident at Grenfell Tower in London.  Whilst the incident is the subject of an investigation, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind everybody within the Devon and Somerset area of our advice in the event of a fire in high rise flats.

Housing providers have a responsibility to comply with the fire safety legislation and give advice to their tenants on the fire safety arrangements and procedures for their particular building.

The Service would like to reassure residents that we have on-going arrangements with housing providers in the Devon and Somerset area, which aim to ensure the necessary fire safety standards are provided and maintained in all such buildings.

Not all buildings will be the same; some will have a procedure where on discovery of a fire or being alerted to a fire, the residents are told to evacuate the building, others, especially high rise buildings, will have a ‘stay put’ policy.  

‘Stay Put’ policy

In certain premises and circumstances where the evacuation of the residents may pose a high risk during a fire, the building’s fire safety provisions may allow for residents to delay evacuation from their rooms/flats in the early stages of a fire occurrence. This is commonly known as a ‘Stay Put’ policy.

Types of premises where a ‘Stay Put’ policy may be encountered:

• Sheltered accommodation
• Blocks of flats

A ‘Stay Put’ policy involves the following approach

• When a fire occurs within a flat, the occupants alerts others in the flat, make their way out of the building to safety and summon the fire and rescue service
• If a fire starts in the common parts, anyone in these areas makes their way out of the building to safety and summons the fire and rescue service
• All other residents not directly affected by the fire, would be expected to delay their evacuation, and remain in their flat unless directed to leave by the fire and rescue service.
• It should not be implied that those not directly involved who wish to leave the building should be prevented from doing so. Nor does this preclude those evacuating a flat that is on fire from alerting their neighbours so that they can also escape if they feel threatened.
• All corridors and escape routes need to be kept free of obstacles/storage that could prevent or hinder the safe evacuation of people leaving the building.
• An approved fire alarm system is provided throughout and is properly maintained.
• Suitable notices informing visitors, residents and the fire service that the premises is operating a ‘stay put’ policy, this should be displayed in a conspicuous location for all to see.

We continue to undertake a range of training exercises in high rise buildings across the two counties to ensure crews are familiar with high rise building layout, however if anyone is concerned about their safety please call 0800 05 02 999 and continue to visit our website for updated information.

Note to Editors

Responsibility for fire safety arrangements in Local Authority housing falls to Local Authorities.

The Fire and Rescue Service has an enforcement role but also remains available to provide advice and guidance to those responsible for safety of buildings and occupants.

Following the tragic fire in a high rise flats building in London today, residents of flats may have concerns about their own safety in the event of a fire in a building.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated, and it would be unwise to comment at this time.

Advice to landlords on fire safety

Following the tragic fire in London Grenfell Tower on the 14th of June, landlords of residential buildings may have feel it necessary to seek advice on the required standards for the varied premises they manage. The DSFRS leaflet ‘’ is available by clicking on the link, and gives advice on the standards and direction to relevant national guidance.

Advice to members of public on fire safety

Following the tragic fire in London Grenfell Tower on the 14th of June, member of the community may have concerns about the fire safety provision in the premises they live. DSFRS have issued a press release (available ) which gives advice on ‘stay put’ policies. More detailed information on fire safety in the home can be found by clicking on this link

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Press Officer 14/06/2017
Street Fire Station is holding an open day this Saturday for all the family to come and learn more about what they do.

There will be vintage fire engines on display and also the ambulance service and police cadets.

Blaze Bear will be making an appearance and there will be a raffle, Heart Start demonstration and face painting.

The station is raising funds for a defibrillator that will be located at the station for public use in the event of a medical emergency.

Come and visit the station to learn more about the work that they do and how they can help you to improve your safety.

There will be lots to see and do at Street Fire Station, Cranhill Road, Street, BA16 0BZ, on Saturday 17 June, 10am-3pm.

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Press Officer 13/06/2017
Crewkerne Fire Station is hosting an open evening for prospective on-call firefighters on Wednesday 14 June 2017, at 7pm.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is looking for people in the Crewkerne community to be on-call or ‘retained’ firefighters.  No previous experience of firefighting is necessary for this role – the ideal prospective firefighter starts with a commitment to the community, a positive attitude and a good level of fitness.

This is an opportunity for men and women who live and/or work within five minutes response time to the fire station to potentially save lives in fire, flood and road traffic emergencies.  Being on-call means that you provide a level of cover whilst at work or at home and when you are needed your pager will alert you to attend the station.  People who can give cover during the day are particularly needed. Many people have primary occupations whilst on-call – either employed or self-employed, the Service has examples of employees in factories, shops, takeaways and restaurants who are on-call firefighters.

You need to be over 18 and have a good level of fitness and strength, but sometimes people overestimate the levels required and this can deter them (particularly women) from applying.  The Service will give people advice and help in preparing for both the written and practical assessments. Equally living with a disability is not automatically a barrier to operational firefighting; it depends on the nature of the disability.  Once you are recruited full training is provided.

We are an inclusive employer and are working towards a workforce which reflects the local community, so if you are interested please come along  to Crewkerne Fire Station, Blacknell Lane, TA18 7HE, on Wednesday 14 June 2017, 7pm, and find out what it means to be an on-call firefighter.

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Press Officer 02/06/2017
Boat Safety week is taking place this year from the 29 May to the 6 June. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and the Boat Safety Scheme are encouraging all boat owners to ensure they make their vital safety checks and learn more about fire and carbon monoxide risks, to stay safe this summer when on the water.

In the past 20 years thirty boaters were killed in boat fires and another thirty lost their lives to the ‘silent killer’ carbon monoxide.  With the boating season just getting under way, the fire service is keen that owners understand the risks, and make regular basic checks, by following their engine and appliance operating guidelines they will be taking essential steps to deal with the fire and carbon monoxide threat.

When a its impact can be devastating, often leading to the vessel being destroyed. Follow our simple top tips to keep your boat and those on board safe and keep it on your boat to remind yourself of our key tips.

Fire can spread quickly on a boat even on water. The following advice and guidance will ensure you stay safe.

Smoke alarms
• Optical sensor alarms with hush buttons and ‘sealed for life’ batteries are best for boats.
• Fit alarms in places you will hear them clearly if they sound.
• Consider installing linked alarms that will go off at the same time.
• Test the alarm each time you board and never disconnect it or remove the batteries.

Carbon monoxide (CO) & gas detectors
• Fit a that is suitable for marine use and meets the British Safety Standards.
• Fit a bubble type leak detector in the gas locker.
• Push the detector button on a regular basis to check for leaks in the gas system.
Cooking on board
• Never leave cooking unattended and turn cooking appliances off properly after use.
• Be extra careful if you are cooking with oil as it can easily set alight.
• Keep the cooking area clean – a build-up of grease can start a fire.
• Use a spark device to light a stove without its own ignition.
• Avoid cooking if you are under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.
• Standard BBQs shouldn’t be used on boats.
• Ensure you keep the cabin well ventilated
• Keep fabrics away from cooker tops.
• Ensure all hobs have shut-off or isolation valves.

People can also get safety advice on the go, with the top 10 tips to keep you safe from carbon monoxide available for smartphones, tablets and laptops at .

For further information about general boat fire and CO safety, visit our web page –

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Press Officer 26/05/2017
The bank holiday weather is looking good… many of us will be heading outdoors to enjoy the variety of activities we have on our doorstep from living in Devon and Somerset.

A long hot summer is what we all hope for, whether it’s in the garden having a BBQ with family and friends, watching the cricket, a weekend away under canvas, putting your caravan back on the road.

To stay safe this summer and make the most of the weather follow our top safety tips so you can ensure that your adventures are safe and enjoyable ones.

BBQ
If you’ve planned a and the weather lets you down, don’t take the BBQ indoors or into a tent.  In recent years, some people have sadly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning as a result. Enjoy yourself safely.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is difficult to detect because it is colourless and has no taste or smell. People often don’t realise that they are being overcome by fumes until it is too late.

Top Tips
• Don’t be distracted by friends and family.
• Check your barbeque is in good working order.
• Make sure your barbeque site is flat and away from fences, trees and sheds.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, in case of emergencies.
• Use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbeque to a depth of about 5 centimetres (2 inches).
• Never use petrol or paraffin to start, or revive, your barbeque – use only barbeque fire lighters or starter fuel on cold coals.
• Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
• Don’t leave the barbeque unattended.
• Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin – they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.
• If using a charcoal barbeque only use enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches).

Camping or Glamping
• Allow at least 6m spacing between and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading
• Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
• Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls and never cook inside a small tent or near flammable materials or long grass; they can all set alight easily.
• Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there’s a fire.
• Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that’s on fire – stop, drop and roll.
• Don’t smoke inside tents.

Caravans
• Fit and test a smoke alarm in your .
• Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.
• Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.
• Make sure ashtrays are made of a material that can’t burn or topple over –never smoke in bed.
• Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
• Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
• Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents, to avoid a build-up of poisonous gases.

Grass and forest fires
• Never throw cigarette ends out of a car window – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside.
• Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands.   Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.   Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.

If you discover a fire:
• Do not be tempted to investigate.
• Leave the area as quickly as possible and call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service.
• Do not return unless the fire and rescue service tells you that it is safe to do so.

Make the call
To request a Home Fire Safety Check call free on: 0800 0502999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit our

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Press Officer 26/05/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service has received calls from concerned businesses seeking guidance on suitable steps to take following the increase of the terrorist threat level.

From a fire safety viewpoint, as long as suitable fire safety provisions are being maintained, no additional measures should be required.

However, an increased vigilance may be necessary to safeguard against potential terrorist events.

The Security Services and the Police are leading on this and it their advice that must be followed.

Therefore if you have any concerns regarding suspicious terrorist activity or need to seek guidance on precautions to take to prevent a terrorist event you can contact:

• The anti-terrorist hotline 0800 789 321 to report suspicious activity.

• The relevant Police force website via the links provided below for general security advice:

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Press Officer 25/05/2017
Fire chiefs are warning about the possibility of the spontaneous combustion of tea towels at catering premises following a fire at the Exeter Chiefs rugby ground.

Fire crews were called to Sandy Park in the early morning of Thursday 11 May and extinguished the fire in the kitchen on the ground floor.

Spontaneous combustion of tea towels can occur when organic oil residue remains in the material after washing and they are then folded and stored in piles while still hot from the tumble drier.

Watch Manager Gareth Sydenham, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The fire crews did an excellent job to limit the spread of the fire, particularly at such an important part of the season for the Chiefs.

“It may sound like a strange phenomenon but is actually more common than you might think. Cotton laundry can often be contaminated with organic cooking oils that can self-ignite if dried and stored.”

Residue of grease or oil – particularly from vegetable and animal based fats – still present in linen can start a fire. The problem arises when the wash cycle has not been hot enough to remove the residue. If laundry is then heated in a tumble dryer it can ignite spontaneously a period of time after the drying process has finished.

Watch Manager Sydenham added: “Make sure you do your wash at the right temperature, usually above 90 degrees Celsius, with the appropriate detergent to remove any oil based contaminants.

“Also make sure you wait for your laundry to cool down before packing it away and store it in a well ventilated place.”

The Service is also giving the following advice to businesses:

• Run the full cool-down cycle of the dryer
• Do not place laundry into large stacks or piles
• Do not leave damp items in a warm or hot dryer
• Clean filters, remove fluff, lint and debris from dryers and keep them regularly maintained

In addition, ensure an adequate and well maintained fire detection system is in place.

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Press Officer 18/05/2017
Honiton firefighters are organising a recruitment campaign for prospective on-call firefighters on Saturday 20 May from 9am-1pm.

A crew will be available in the High Street with another positioned at Tesco’s to talk to anyone interested in becoming a firefighter within the community.

No previous experience of firefighting is necessary for this role – the ideal prospective firefighter starts with a commitment to the community, a positive attitude and a good level of fitness.  This is an opportunity for men and women who live and/or work within five minutes response time to the fire station to potentially save lives in fire, flood and road traffic emergencies. 

Being on-call means you provide a level of cover whilst at work or at home and when you are needed your pager will alert you to attend the station.  People who can give cover during the day are particularly needed. Many people have primary occupations whilst on-call – either employed or self-employed, the Service has examples of employees in factories, shops, takeaways and restaurants who are on-call firefighters.

You need to be over 18 and have a good level of fitness and strength, but sometimes people overestimate the levels required and this can deter them (particularly women) from applying.  The Service will give people advice and help in preparing for both the written and practical assessments. Equally living with a disability is not automatically a barrier to operational firefighting; it depends on the nature of the disability.  Once you are recruited full training is provided.

We are an inclusive employer and are working towards a workforce which reflects the local community, so if you are interested please come and see us on 20 May and find out what it means to be an on-call firefighter.

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Press Officer 17/05/2017
A group of students from Oakfield Academy have been put through their paces at Frome Fire Station to improve their self-confidence and communications skills.

They have taken part in a week-long Phoenix course, which offers a unique opportunity for young people to develop key life skills, such as building self-confidence, communication skills and team work, together with important fire and home safety awareness.

The training included a series of challenges spread over five days.  Practical sessions involved hose running, the use of breathing apparatus for search and rescue, learning about road traffic collisions and how to rescue a casualty safely and essential first aid, together with a range of thrilling team building games and exercises.

Oakfield Academy Support and Guidance Manager Nicola Applegate said: “The course has been fantastic, and the pupils have benefited greatly. We have seen them all grow in self-confidence as the week has progressed, and all of them have told us how they have thoroughly enjoyed the week.

“They have gained so much in not only self-confidence, but also team work, listening skills, respecting others and they have genuinely learnt a lot about themselves and pushed themselves out of their comfort zone, but in a positive way that has made them all proud. Two now want to be firefighters and one would like to be a PCSO.”

Following the demanding days of training, the fifth day ended with a traditional Passing Out display and celebration ceremony in front of friends, family and teachers. Students each received a certificate of completion.

Station Manager Ainsley Bird, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Our Phoenix courses provide a unique opportunity for young people to work with the fire and rescue service and take part in a variety of physical and mental challenges that improve their life opportunities. 

“The team of Phoenix instructors have enjoyed working with the pupils from Oakfield Academy and were impressed by their commitment to the course.”

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Press Officer 16/05/2017
Every year Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service attends fires caused by the sun’s rays focussing through or onto glass, and then setting fire to nearby objects.

Over the (sunny) weekend two crews from Taunton attended a fire in a bedroom. The fire investigation that followed has determined that the source of the fire was the sun shining through a window upon a magnifying mirror. The sun was magnified on to a cushion/pillow which eventually caused this to burn.

The bedroom was severely damaged by flame, heat and smoke and the rest of the flat was smoke damaged.

Paul Bray, Community Safety Protection manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: ‘Many people do not realise the dangers of leaving glass objects too close to windows. Anything that can concentrate the sun’s ray should be moved away from the window to reduce the risk of fire breaking out, especially where the sun can shine directly into the room.

He went on to say: ‘I have personally attended two fires caused by make-up mirrors, positioned on dressers, in bedrooms. One of these fires occurred in the early morning, with the sun shining through a south-easterly facing window, and the other occurred in the early evening, with the sun shining through a south westerly facing window. Both days were bright and sunny, but not hot.

“If any of your rooms are penetrated by bright sunlight, carry out a check to make sure any glass objects cannot re-focus the sunlight to create a fire.”

to request free Home Safety advice call free on: now 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288.

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Press Officer 15/05/2017
Just three weeks ago Frome Fire Cadets working with SAFE South West set an ambitious Crowdfunding target of £6,000 to help fund their trip to the International Young Firefighters Competition in Villach, Austria in July 2017.

The response has been great and the target has already been reached. Thanks go to Frome Town Council who provided £3,000 of funding as part of their strategy to support not-for-profit organisations whose project will benefit the people of Frome.

Very special thanks to Kinderhotels Europe who run the hotel Melcher in Villach, they spotted the Crowdfunder appeal and very generously donated £1,400 to help make the cadet’s trip possible.

Frome fire cadets have qualified to take part in the International Young Firefighters Competition in Villach, Austria in July 2017. They are the first non-metropolitan Fire Service to qualify for the British team, but in order to attend the ten cadets needed to raise £6,000 to cover the costs of their trip.

The competition will be fierce, with 500 cadets and 60 teams from 30 different countries taking part. But they will have the honour of representing their country, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, as well as Somerset and Frome.

The event will offer the cadets a fantastic opportunity to fully test their technical skills and sporting abilities by taking part in a whole range of challenges and competitions. All conducted in a spirit of competitive friendship.

A cultural exhibition will also be taking place in the city centre involving European Fire and Rescue Services where the cadets will be further promoting Frome and Somerset.

The event will offer the opportunity to strengthen links between European Fire and Rescue Services as well as assisting in improving EC citizen safety. Last but not least, they will have the challenge of singing in a fun, five minute Eurovision song contest.

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Press Officer 11/05/2017
A team of on-call firefighters from Plympton will be taking part in the Hope 24 charity event at Newnham Park this weekend.

A number of different races will be taking place on 13-14 May, with the main event a 24-hour run for individuals or teams to see how far they can run within that timescale. Solo runners can aim to achieve distances in excess of 100 miles.

Plympton Station Commander Neil Willmott said: “We’re a relatively new on-call team so we thought this would be a good opportunity to work together away from the station and have some team bonding.

“The event has grown over the last couple of years and we know it’s going to be hard work but also hopefully a lot of fun as well.”

The event will raise funds for Hope for Children and Dartmoor Rescue (Plymouth).

While two firefighters are running at any one time, the rest of the team will be giving safety advice to many of the runners who also camp at the venue. 

Safety tips for those staying in a tent are:

• never use candles in or near a tent; torches are safer
• keep cooking stoves and barbecues away from tent walls as they could easily set alight
• know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there is a fire
• don’t smoke inside your tent
• never use BBQs inside or near the entrance of your tent – the carbon monoxide they produce can kill.

More information on Hope 24 is available at:

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Press Officer 10/05/2017
The fourth National day takes place on Thursday 11May. This is the day we encourage you to paint your thumb nail red as a reminder not to use your mobile phone when driving.

My Red Thumb is a multi-agency road safety campaign designed to raise the awareness of the risks of distractions at the wheel.  The painted thumb nail acts as a reminder every time they catch sight of their red thumb.

Laura Pratt, Community Safety Education & Road Safety, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “We are extremely passionate about promoting the My Red Thumb message that it is not safe or acceptable to use your mobile phone whilst driving. Help us spread our message and stop people using their phones whilst driving; by challenging drivers who do and help us break these bad habits.

“In the emergency services we deal with far too many road traffic collisions. We see the terrible aftermath and ripple effect that a single collision causes to families and friends and our colleagues. Being distracted by using your phone whilst driving can result in a serious road traffic collision causing fatalities or life changing injuries.

“We also have silicone thumb rings to promote the message and act as a visual reminder of not to use a mobile phone whilst driving and to challenge drivers who do.”

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Road Safety team recently visited the  Exeter chiefs and spoke to their academy students who gave the thumbs up to My Red Thumb campaign.

New law 

Following the recent law changes that came into effect on 1st March, National MyRedThumb this year is a timely reminder that driving using a mobile phone at the wheel now comes with even stricter penalties. While new drivers (within two years of passing their test) will now face losing their license if they are caught using a handheld phone at the wheel.

The aim of the day is simple – we want as many people as possible to support the cause and promote the lifesaving MyRedThumb message – do not use a phone when driving!

So how can you get involved?
The answer to that is simple. Paint your thumb nail red on Thursday May 11 to show your support and help us to spread the My Red Thumb message – Don’t use your mobile phone when driving.

Thumb Selfie
Why not take a thumb selfie and post to @DSFireUpdates using the hashtag #MyRedThumb.

Video Competition
This year is calling on all its supporters to fully embrace the 2017 challenge. They would like as many people as possible to create their own short video that gets the message that using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving is unacceptable.

Is this you?
You might be thinking, “Really? Why would anyone ever try and use their phone whilst driving it’s such a dangerous thing to do!”… if this is you, great, but help to encourage others to think like you by pledging your support and painting your thumb red. When people ask you about your single digit paint job tell them all about the campaign and encourage them to do the same.
…or is this you?

Alternatively, if you are thinking, “Actually, yes that is me. I do use my phone when I am driving – but not very often – and if I do I am really careful”- then this campaign really is for you. If you need some convincing that using your phone whilst being ‘in control’ of a tonne of metal is not a good thing to do.

Did you know?
• are four times more likely to crash injuring or killing themselves and/or other people
• are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
• fail to see road signs
• fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
• are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
• react more slowly and take longer to brake
• are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
• feel more stressed and frustrated
You can join in with My Red Thumb Day on Thursday May 11 by tweeting @DSFireUpdates  and using the hashtag #MyRedThumb.

Photo
The Exeter Chiefs Academy students give the thumbs up to My Red Thumb campaign.

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Press Officer 10/05/2017
Today Fire and Police services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) setting out the vision for greater and improved collaborative working relationships between Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, Devon & Cornwall Police, Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service and The Isles of Scilly Fire & Rescue Service.

The MOU confirms the already excellent working relationship activity that the Fire and Police services carry out and how communities throughout Devon, Somerset, Cornwall as well as the Isles of Scilly will directly benefit by further delivery of joint community safety initiatives that protect the most vulnerable in our communities.  Shared intelligence will assist in reducing the risk of deliberate fire setting and anti-social behaviour. These are just two of the benefits to the public that will be supported by this MOU.

Lee Howell Chief Fire Officer for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “This latest development really embeds our shared vision to continue to work more closely together. We already work very closely operationally, in training, on special projects and by sharing facilities and expertise. This gives us a strong base to build on as we consider further collaboration.”

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “We welcome these plans to establish closer working relationships between the police and fire services across Devon and Cornwall in a number of operational fields. By working together in greater collaboration, all services involved are seeking the best outcomes for the communities in which we serve. This new MOU will allow a better coordinated response to calls from the public and enable a comprehensive use of our data to identify and help those most vulnerable in society.”

CFO Paul Walker, Director of Resilient Cornwall, said “I am genuinely proud of the wide reaching extent of collaborative working with emergency service colleagues across the south west region. This is based on excellent working relationships and a desire to make a real positive difference to residents, businesses and visitors across our region. We have a superb track record of innovative partnership working and this MOU adds new areas to our established list of collaborative projects and activities.”

Alison Hernandez Police & Crime Commissioner said: “Partnership working is a key part of my police and crime plan.  Closer collaboration between the police and local fire and rescue services is specifically highlighted in the plan, and there are already many examples across Devon and Cornwall where this is working extremely well.

“This operational collaboration will bring further benefits for our communities, and I am delighted that this is moving forward so quickly.”

The emergency service in the South west has always worked well together. The government is committed to driving collaboration between the emergency services to deliver more effective and efficient services to the public.

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Press Officer 05/05/2017
At midday this Thursday 4 May, firefighters will stand on parade in front of their fire station to observe a minute silence in honour of the bravery and sacrifice of all firefighters who have died on duty whilst serving their communities.

Local fire crews may signal Firefighters Memorial Day by sounding sirens for 30 seconds followed by a minute silence.

Firefighters Memorial Day has been established to take place annually on 4 May by the Firefighters Memorial Trust under authority of a Royal Charter, supported by the Trust’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

All serving and former firefighters, their families and the public are invited to join us in a moment’s reflection this Firefighters Memorial Day – Thursday 4 May 2017. 

Chairman of the Firefighters Memorial Trust, Colin Levitt BEM said: “Fire does not distinguish between men, women or children – race, religion or creed. Neither do firefighters, they answer to the call and do their duty! Some pay the ultimate sacrifice.”

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Press Officer 04/05/2017
The threat of wild fires may seem like a long way off after a typically wet Bank Holiday weekend but a leading wildlife charity is now joining forces with an emergency fire service to warn of the rising risks that fire is posing to some of the region’s most treasured landscapes.

Despite rain over the Bank Holiday the South West still finds itself in the middle of a prolonged dry spell which has left parts of the countryside vulnerable to wild fires. With the long range weather forecast predicting little prospect of rain Devon Wildlife Trust has become concerned enough about the risk affecting its nature reserves that it has now teamed up with Devon & Somerset Fire Rescue Service to promote a message about safe and responsible use of rural areas.

The warning comes after a devastating fire struck East Devon’s Woodbury Common on 23 April. 120 acres of the heathland beauty–spot owned by Clinton Devon Estates were badly burned in a fire which began on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Steve Hussey from Devon Wildlife Trust said:

“Wild fires can be devastating for wildlife, as well as potentially dangerous for people and damaging to farmland. Heathlands, with their coverings of gorse and grasses, are particularly vulnerable when the weather remains dry for several weeks. Having experienced a couple of months without significant rainfall, even though the weather has been cold, parts of our countryside are now at risk.”

Devon Wildlife Trust is asking people to take care on all its 50 nature reserves but especially on its heathland sites which include Chudleigh Knighton Heath and Bovey Heathfield nature reserves near Bovey Tracey, and Venn Ottery and Bystock nature reserves in East Devon.

The charity is now working with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to promote a message which asks people to use the countryside responsibly while also being vigilant.

Joe Hassell, Area Manager of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said:

“We want people to be able to enjoy the countryside, but ask them to be vigilant during drier weather to help prevent more gorse fires in the future. A change in wind direction can cause the fire to spread rapidly, putting fire fighters at risk as well as nearby people and property.”

The fire service is advising people to some simple advice:

• extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly;

• never throw cigarette ends out of car windows;

• don’t leave bottles or glass in the countryside – sunlight shining through glass can start fires;  take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin;

• avoid using open fires (including barbeques) in the countryside;

• if you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately;

• don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible and call 999.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Steve Hussey concluded:

“We are doing our bit to protect our wonderful countryside from the risk of fire. Our staff and volunteers are remaining vigilant and cutting fire breaks, especially on vulnerable grassland, heathland and moorland sites. But with 50 nature reserves in Devon we have a lot of ground to cover. That’s why the public’s help is so important. What we’re asking people to do is follow the good advice of the Devon & Somerset Fire Rescue Service.”

In 2011, a large wild fire destroyed a third of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Upton Heath nature reserve near Wareham killing many rare plants and animals. It’s estimated that it can take up to ten years before habitats and their wildlife are able to recover.

Ends.

For more information contact DWT’s Steve Hussey on 01392 260825 – 07771 304077

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Press Officer 02/05/2017
The 999 Academy Bridgwater was visited by the Police Crime Commissioner of Avon and Somerset Police, Sue Mountstevens. 

She was very interested in the Academy and spent over an hour chatting to the staff and students and inspecting them as they paraded in their fire kit on Thursday 20 April.  

The students spent the evening at Bridgwater Fire Station where thanks to Watch Manager Jim Weston and Red Watch they practised rope rescue procedures and abseiled down the fire tower. They were also given the chance to be taken 100 feet high in the hydraulic platform. One of the students Gabby Trout said that she was terrified but was really glad that she did it!

Sue Mountstevens said: “I’m very interested in the 999 Academy as I’ve heard so much about it. I believe it is a fantastic way for students to learn about the emergency services and I am extremely supportive of it. I hope I can visit again soon.”

Ruth Burrows, who leads the 999 Academy at Bridgwater and Taunton College, said: “It was a great honour to meet Sue and introduce her to the students. The 999 Academy is a huge asset of the college and is supported by all the partners, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, South Western Ambulance Service and SAFE South West. The students are all really proud to be part of such an enterprising team and were very pleased that the PCC was able to find time to visit them.”

Student Rosie Walker said that she felt privileged to meet such an influential figure and Starlena Hancock said that she felt proud to meet her and tell her about all the other activities that they do.

The academy meets weekly at Bridgwater and Taunton College and is open to all students who are enrolled at the college.

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Press Officer 02/05/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service has recognised a Somerset school for its contribution to the community as a primary employer of on-call firefighters.

Millfield has employed one of the Service’s crew managers for 16 years plus several other firefighters in Street and Glastonbury. It also allows the Service to use its sites for exercises and training.

Station Manager Ainsley Bird visited the school to present Millfield Bursar Mark Suddaby with a certificate of appreciation and a shield.

Ainsley said: “To allow these firefighters to be on-call for us while working at the school for so many years is an impressive commitment from a single employer and shows real dedication towards the safety of the local community.

“The vast majority of our fire stations are crewed by on-call firefighters and we could not operate our service without the assistance of employers such as Millfield.”

On-call firefighters can provide benefits to employers as they are First Person On Scene trained and can provide fire prevention advice and first aid cover while on site.

Mark said: “We are proud to be part of our community and to help the local fire station by making staff available to provide fire cover. Millfield currently has three staff who work for two local stations. As a school, we value the role the fire brigade plays in our community and we look forward to continuing to work closely together.”

Ainsley added: “I would like to say a big thank you to the primary employers of all our on-call firefighters for their support to us and their local community.”

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Press Officer 28/04/2017
Firefighters from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, together with colleagues from the police and ambulance HART team, took part in a pre-planned two hour simulated emergency services exercise last night (Monday 24 April) along with school staff and students in the grounds of Wells Cathedral School.

From 7pm, six fire engines, police cars and ambulances, along with the command control vehicle for the Wells emergency services started arriving on the school site from across the city, to take part in a simulated fire and rescue exercise in the basement of Cedars House, at the heart of the school campus. The command control vehicle was lined up for the exercise, allowing all three emergency services to coordinate their response to a large scale danger.

Kept a secret from all students and most school staff, the exercise was planned to provide ‘real life’ practice for the emergency services, as well as to give the school the opportunity to rehearse their fire drills, and health and safety procedures with trained school fire officers.

The exercise was able to provide realistic experience of the safe and controlled evacuation of large numbers of children living in residential property, on a real site, complicated by the idiosyncrasies and complexity of a historic building like Cedars House.

In addition to the fire engines, police cars and ambulances, the fire service used the realistic addition of simulated smoke, and the requirement for the firemen to ‘rescue’ two 20-stone dummies from the basement of Cedars House as part of the operation.

Bursar Peter Knell said, “This pre-planned exercise allowed us the chance to test out systems, work out multiple access for the school site, and build on an already strong relationship with our skilled local emergency teams.

We are delighted to have been able to test procedures so thoroughly and very grateful to the dedicated men and women of Wells police, ambulance and fire service to have provided such a realistic scenario for us. It is also reassuring that the evening’s activities and emergency procedures were managed so smoothly.”

Wells Station Commander Chris Grantham said: “We’d like to thank all involved, we couldn’t have done it without the enthusiasm of the crews, the co-operation of the other emergency services and the real-life participation of the school. The students and many of the staff had no prior knowledge it was happening.

“Exercises are important to validate what we do in a safe environment and it’s always useful to learn more about how the other emergency services work in certain situations.”

As part of the disaster management drill, the school will be following up the practical exercise with a desktop recovery exercise to plan the second stage of actions required were such a serious incident were to take place in real life.

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Press Officer 25/04/2017
A Teignmouth firefighter and his brother completed the London Marathon at the weekend in memory of their father.

Russell Dean, Crew Manager at Teignmouth Fire Station, and his younger brother Gary, have been raising money and awareness of the charity Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK.

Russell, aged 40, said: “In January 2007 our dad Peter was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and on 8 November the same year he sadly passed away. When he was diagnosed we had little idea about the condition so would like to raise awareness.
 
“Since it is the 10-year anniversary of his death, we decided to take part in something that would really challenge us. PHA UK kindly offered us their two places for this year’s London Marathon which we gratefully accepted.”

Gary, aged 27, lives in Croydon, South London, where he works as a Health & Safety Manager for a satellite communications company.

Pulmonary Hypertension is a serious condition where your body cannot circulate good oxygen to the vital organs. Your body will work harder and harder to circulate this oxygen but gradually wears itself down. This rare disease can happen to anyone at any time.

Russell managed to complete the marathon in 4 hours 2 minutes 2 seconds and Gary completed it in an impressive 3 hours 49 minutes 35 seconds.

Russell said: “It was an amazing experience and we were a bit sore the day afterwards. We’ve still got to collect a few more sponsorship pledges so should hopefully break £2,500 for the charity.”

They have set up a JustGiving page for their London Marathon run on which donations can be made to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK here:

More information about the charity is on its website here:  

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Press Officer 25/04/2017
South West Waters Mayflower construction site at Roborough, just outside Plymouth, was the scene of a dramatic rescue during a fire service training exercise that took place at the weekend.

The site gave crews from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service the perfect venue to put their training into practice at the weekend. In the scenario, firefighters used specialist equipment to rescue two casualties (manikins) from the base of a concrete structure.

South West Water is building the new £60million state-of-the-art Mayflower Water Treatment Works to serve Plymouth and the surrounding area. It will replace the outdated treatment works at Crownhill in Plymouth, which was built in the 1950s and is reaching the end of its useful life.

Project manager, Mike Court for South West Water said: “Construction sites of this nature are few and far between so we were delighted to be able to offer Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service the opportunity to use our site for these training exercises.

“It was absolutely fascinating seeing the firefighters in action.”

Steve Hill, Station Manager from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, explained: “The purpose of the training is to enable the crews from several fire stations to work together as a team training in an unfamiliar environment. They will be integrating their skills, knowledge and equipment to overcome different or unusual challenges, as well as gaining a familiarity with the South West Water site. The scenario is also an ideal opportunity to develop firefighters with less experience.

“We would like to thank South West Water for agreeing to host this exercise; it is invaluable for our crews to train in realistic scenarios such as this.”

Work started on site in April 2016 and Mayflower is on schedule to become operational in September 2018, with the existing Crownhill works retiring from service a few months later.  The project is South West Water’s biggest single capital investment in its highly-rated 2015-20 business plan.

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Press Officer 11/04/2017
 Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind walkers and campers to be mindful of the impact and damage that a gorse fire has on the environment. They also tie up valuable fire resources for some time.

Fire Investigation Officer Andy Justice explained: “We want people to be able to enjoy the countryside, but ask them to be vigilant during drier weather to help prevent more gorse fires in the future. A change in wind direction can cause the fire to spread rapidly, putting fire fighters at risk as well as nearby people and property.”

He added that resources often have to be diverted away from other duties to deal with gorse fires.

The Fire Service are advising people to be vigilant in rural areas and follow this simple advice:
• extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
• never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
• don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands – sunlight shining through glass can start fires; take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
• avoid using open fires in the countryside
• if you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately
• don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.

Andy added: “Some  fires are clearly started deliberately – and we would ask the public to report any suspicious behaviour to the police immediately. You can contact the police on the 101 number or alternatively you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

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Press Officer 10/04/2017
Frome fire cadets have qualified to take part in the Competition in Villach, Austria in July 2017. They are the first non-metropolitan Fire Service to qualify for the British team, but in order to attend the ten cadets need to raise £6,000 to cover the costs of their trip.

The competition will be fierce, with 500 cadets and 60 teams from 30 different countries taking part. But they will have the honour of representing their country, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, as well as Somerset and Frome.

The event will offer the cadets a fantastic opportunity to fully test their technical skills and sporting abilities by taking part in a whole range of challenges and competitions. All conducted in a spirit of competitive friendship.

A cultural exhibition will also be taking place in the city centre involving European Fire and Rescue Services where the cadets will be further promoting Frome and Somerset.

The event will offer the opportunity to strengthen links between European Fire and Rescue Services as well as assisting in improving EC citizen safety. Last but not least, they will have the challenge of singing in a fun, five minute Eurovision song contest.

The is helping the cadets to raise the £6,000 they need and you can also help by visiting and make a pledge.

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Press Officer 10/04/2017
A care home in Burnham-on-Sea has been fined £100,000 for breaching fire safety regulations at a house used for staff accommodation.

Almondsbury Care Ltd, of Berrow Road, Burnham-on-Sea, appeared at Taunton Magistrates Court on Thursday 30 March 2017 facing five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The charges were brought by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service after an inspection of a house which was being used by Almondsbury Care Ltd to provide sleeping and living accommodation for nurses and other agency staff that were working in the adjacent nursing home owned by the company.

The house consisted of three floors which were all in use at the time. As officers walked around the premises it soon became evident the fire safety provisions fell far below the appropriate standard for a premises being used in such a manner.

The inspection revealed a number of failings including:

• Failure to provide a sufficient fire detection and warning system
• A fire exit door which provided an alternative escape route could not be opened
• Inadequate protection to the means of escape due to the lack of fire resisting doors
• Cupboards on the means of escape being used for storage.

In summing up, the Judge stated that the premises had a whole range of failures that should have been “abundantly obvious to anyone who chose to think about it.”

The company failed to make a proper assessment and their own risk assessment clearly identified deficiencies which they ignored. The Judge went on to say the company had allowed, for its own gain, people to stay in a premises they knew placed people at risk of death or serious injury. The fire safety provisions fell far below the standard required resulting in a high risk of harm.

Business Safety Manager Paul Bray, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “It was extremely fortunate that a fire did not occur at these premises. Almondsbury Care Ltd would have been well aware of the need to implement suitable fire safety measures yet failed to ensure the safety of those working for their company.”

“The severity of the fines imposed by the court gives out a clear message to those who have control of a premises and show a disregard for the law and those they have a duty to protect.”

The Service’s Business Safety Officers will always work with and support those businesses that take their responsibilities seriously but will not tolerate those that put lives at risk.

Ends

Additional information

The list of offences was as follows:

Article 9 (1) Failure to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons were exposed for the purpose of identifying the general fire precautions needed to be taken in order to comply with the requirements imposed upon the responsible person by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Article 13(1) Failure to ensure that the premises were, to an appropriate extent, equipped with sufficient fire detecting equipment and alarm sounders so as to comply with the requirements of BS5839 Part 1 2002 (as amended), Category LD2 or equivalent with regard to the adequacy of the fire alarm system at the premises

Article 14 (2) Failure to ensure that, in the event of danger, it was possible for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible by failing to ensure that:-

1. emergency doors were not locked or fastened so that they could easily and immediately be opened by any person who was required to use them in an emergency;
2.  there were sufficient emergency routes so as to allow relevant persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible;
3. emergency routes and exits requiring illumination were provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.

Article 15(1) Failure to establish and where necessary give effect to appropriate procedures, including safety drills, to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger to relevant persons and failed to nominate a sufficient number of competent persons to implement those procedures insofar as they related to the evacuation of relevant persons from the premises

Article 17(1) Failure to  ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment or devices were subject to a suitable system of maintenance and were maintained in an effective state and effective working order and good repair, namely that:-
1.  the fire alarm was inoperative;
2.  the emergency lighting did not work.

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Press Officer 31/03/2017
Owners of some tumble dryers manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 are being advised to check if they require a safety modification.

Identified models of Hotpoint, Indesit, Swan, Proline and Creda tumble dryers are subject to manufacturer’s product recall notices as there is a risk of fire caused by fluff coming into contact with heating elements.

The manufacturers have activated an extensive action plan to provide consumers with products that are updated to higher safety and quality standards. An engineer will visit, free of charge, to modify the appliance.

A spokesman for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “Nationally, we are aware that these tumble dryers have been responsible for causing fires and manufacturers’ advice has been issued previously for their use.

“Now with revised advice, we wish to bring this to the attention of consumers of affected tumble dryers that they follow the manufacturers’ instructions where they should be unplugged and not used until the modification has taken place.”

To establish whether your tumble dryer is affected by this recall, further information can be found by following the below links or using the Freephone hotline:

     
Creda and Proline customers should visit  
Freephone hotline at 0800 151 0905

If your product has a green “dot” sticker in the door area or on the back plate, no action is required. A graphic showing the location of the green dots is here: =

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Press Officer 31/03/2017
Fire crews have left the scene of the thatch fire which destroyed a cottage in Newton Poppleford.

Fire crews were called initially at 7.20pm on 28 March and the thatched roof was involved in fire. Sixty firefighters attended and managed to salvage all of the possessions from within the building.

Firefighters were re-visiting the site until midnight on 29 March to dampen down the thatch and ensure it was burning out in a controlled manner.

Incident Commander Jon Chalk said: “The crews worked extremely hard to remove all of the occupiers’ possessions to safety, including some of great sentimental value.

“We’d like to remind all homeowners that they should have working smoke alarms to give them early warning of fire and an escape plan should the worst happen.

“It is also useful to know where your most precious possessions are in case it is safe for firefighters to retrieve them.” 

Fire appliances were sent from Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, Middlemoor, Honiton, Colyton, Topsham, two from Exmouth, two and a water bowser from Danes Castle and a high volume pump from Special Operations in Exeter.

Crews initially started stripping off the thatch to extinguish the fire, which started accidentally in the area of the chimney.

Group Commander Chalk added: “For owners of thatched properties in particular, we would strongly recommend making sure that chimneys are regularly swept, kept well maintained and are installed in accordance with approved standards.”

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Press Officer 30/03/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Services bike advocate team have taken delivery of a new Triumph motorbike. The bike is part of the services road for educating and raising awareness with bikers.

In order for the Fire Service to work effectively with the most at risk groups, they have vehicles which help them interact with drivers of all ages in a way that is more meaningful for them. The Fire Bike team have expert knowledge in bike safety and are able to take the motorbike directly to the audience and interact with driving groups across the counties.

The motorbike will assist in getting up close and engaging with motorcyclists at general community events and shows or at specific motorcycle events. Such as ‘bike meet’s’ and the very popular ‘Biker Down’ workshops comprising of three modules: Scene Management, First Aid and The Science behind being seen.

The main topics covered are motorcycle safety, rider engagement and collision reduction as motorcyclists are roughly 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, per mile ridden.

Advice for Bikers
Riding defensively makes you less vulnerable. Make sure you:
• anticipate the actions of others
• are alert and observant
• can slow down and stop if the unexpected happens
• position yourself in the safest and best place to maximise your visibility of potential hazards
• take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out manoeuvres, so you know where others are and what they’re doing.

Wear the right gear
Fall off your bike and tarmac will shred through your jeans in seconds. Wearing the right gear is just as important to your safety as servicing your motorcycle and knowing how to ride it.

• Wear bright or florescent gear during the day and reflective gear at night
• Bikers must wear a protective jacket, gloves, boots and trousers
• Choosing the right helmet could help save your life.

Speaking to car drivers
In addition to this Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service also engage with car drivers to encourage them to look out for motorcyclists. Collisions involving motorcyclists are out of proportion to their presence on the roads
Here are a few simple ways of avoiding crashes with motorcyclists:
• Look carefully for motorbikes when you pull out at a junction. If you’re approaching a junction, look out for motorcyclists pulling out too.
• Keep your distance. Driving too close can intimidate a less experienced motorcyclist.
• Check for bikes when changing lanes.
• Remember your blind spot.
• Parked cars or large vehicles can obstruct your view of a motorcyclist.
• Motorcyclists might pass you on either side
• Double-check for motorcyclists, whether you’re turning left or right.
• Check for motorcyclists before opening your car door – and ensure that your passengers do the same. When you pull away, look specifically for motorcyclists as they can accelerate faster than cars.

The bike was supplied by local bike retailer Bridge motorcycles that assisted us in receiving support from Triumph UK.

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Press Officer 28/03/2017
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are currently piloting a new road safety initiative using the latest virtual reality (VR) headsets designed to connect with and educate potential young drivers before they even get behind the wheel of a car.

The VR headsets involve a 360° road safety film about being distracted at the wheel while using a mobile phone. The intention is to improve road safety for everyone and reduce vehicle collisions for young drivers.

The film for the headsets was produced and shared by Leicestershire Fire Service nationally. They enable wearers to experience realistic situations inside virtual, but convincing surroundings.

Watch Manager, Dan Searle who works in Community Road Safety for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “We want to reach as many young drivers as possible and coming up with innovative ideas to effectively engage with local communities is always a challenge for fire and rescue services. The VR headsets encourage dynamic conversations with both new and young drivers with the intention of them being forewarned and resulting in safer young drivers on our roads. The early valuation of these headsets shows that it does change behaviours.

“We are currently working with Petroc students in North Devon who are helping us to deliver a package on a peer to peer basis and then university students are going to evaluate this for us. The VR headsets have already been to a at Chivenor where they were very well received. We plan to take them to all L2L’s later this year.”

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Press Officer 24/03/2017
A Teignmouth firefighter and his brother will be tackling the London Marathon this April in memory of their father.

Russell Dean, Crew Manager at Teignmouth Fire Station, and his younger brother Gary, will also be raising money and awareness of the charity Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK.

Russell, aged 40, said: “In January 2007 our dad Peter was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and on 8 November the same year he sadly passed away. When he was diagnosed we had little idea about the condition so would like to raise awareness.
 
“Since it is the 10-year anniversary of his death, we have decided to take part in something that will really challenge us. PHA UK kindly offered us their two places for this year’s London Marathon which we gratefully accepted.”

Pulmonary Hypertension is a serious condition where your body cannot circulate good oxygen to the vital organs. Your body will work harder and harder to circulate this oxygen but gradually wears itself down. This rare disease can happen to anyone at any time.

Russell and Gary previously completed The Tough Guy Challenge in 2009 to raise money for PHA. Gary, aged 27, lives in Croydon, South London, where he works as a Health & Safety Manager for a satellite communications company.

They have set up a JustGiving page for their London Marathon run on which donations can be made to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK here:

More information about the charity is on its website here:  

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Press Officer 23/03/2017
Plymouth, Torbay, Cornwall and Devon Safeguarding Children Boards and Devon and Cornwall Police have teamed up to promote awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) to parents.

To coincide with Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18 March led by national charity National Working Group (NWG) all the Boards, working with Devon and Cornwall Police, local authorities and charities including Barnardo’s, NSPCC and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), are making parents aware of what signs to look out for in case their child is at risk of being sexually exploited. The Boards have collaborated on a new web page to signpost parents to support services which can be found at

Sexual exploitation is a type of child abuse. It puts a young person at huge risk of damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.
CSE involves young people and children being ‘groomed’ and sexually exploited.  It can take many forms, such as through an apparently ‘consensual’ relationship with an older person or a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, cigarettes or alcohol.

Many young people who are being exploited do not realise they are at risk and will not ask for help. Some may see themselves as willing participants in such abuse, not realising that what is happening to them is illegal.

There are warning signs that may indicate something is wrong. If you know what you’re looking for, you can take steps to help them.

Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “One of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan is protecting the vulnerable and those at risk of abuse. We need to do all we can to protect children from CSE.”

“I want children to know that we care about what they have gone through. They should know where to go for help and what support is there for them. There are various agencies, both local and national, that can help, including police, Barnardo’s, the NSPCC and local safeguarding boards.”

A mother of a young girl from the Devon and Cornwall area who was targeted on social media said: “We realised my daughter was being exploited by a young male, who was not a good role model in her life.

“I was very shocked and did not know how I felt, however, I felt numb and I was so upset I could not protect my daughter in a way that a mother should.

“More should be talked about the dangers of social media and children need to know about what bad things can happen to them. They just see it as if they are making new friends but new friends are not always who they say they are.

Andy Bickley, Independent Chair of the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Tackling child sexual exploitation is a shared priority for organisations working with children and young people in Plymouth and one which brings together skills and expertise from all sectors.”

“We are absolutely committed to making sure there is a greater awareness of child sexual exploitation across all professionals in the city and we fully support awareness days like these.”

John Clements, Independent Chair, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LSCB said: “Child sexual exploitation has been a priority for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly for the last three years. The staff across our agencies understand how easy this can happen and how it can destroy the lives of those affected.  We have put a lot of effort into improving how we respond and I am confident we are effective once we are aware it is happening to a child or a young person.  A key issue for us is raising knowledge and awareness amongst parents and the general public to help us identify the children we don’t know about.  If we can identify more children we can start to help them too.”

Mark Gurrey, Independent Chair of Devon Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Agencies in Devon have worked really hard to ensure our collective response to victims of CSE is constantly improving and I am pleased to say we know more about it and respond more effectively than ever before.

However, there is always more to do. CSE still remains a crime which exists ‘under the radar’ and victims are too often hidden from view. Raising the awareness of CSE across the community – and especially with young people themselves – is really important in helping us work together to counteract the traumatic and damaging effects of CSE.”

Detective Inspector David Ley, Child Sexual Exploitation Lead for Devon and Cornwall Police said, “The prevention and investigating of child sexual exploitation remain a priority for Devon and Cornwall Police.

“Unfortunately there are people in our society who seek to sexually exploit and abuse our children, which can cause untold and lasting trauma.  Investigating these cases is often complex and protracted, particularly when young people do not recognise the risks they face or see themselves as victims.

“As a father, I would encourage parents and carers to use the abundant guidance online and the wide range of support services available to ensure they are aware of the threats that exist to children, including knowing the signs of exploitation, and how best to support them and keep them safe.”

Sarah Allum, Service Manager, NSPCC said: “We know how difficult it is for young people to talk about being sexually exploited and it is really important that parents and carers are aware of behaviours that could be a cause for concern.  We also want to ensure that children and families know where they can go to get advice and support.  The NSPCC in Plymouth helps children recover from the impact of sexual abuse and also has a Helpline to provide advice to any adult who has a concern.”

Elaine Watling, a Designated Safeguarding Lead for Education in the Devon area, works to ensure school staff are trained to identify signs of abuse, holds regular awareness assemblies and links in with police, as well as being CSE lead for the school. Elaine said: “The aim is always that whatever the concerns are around a child the correct support is put in place to make their life better and safer.”

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are working with the Safeguarding Children Boards and all our partners across Devon and Cornwall to raise as much awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation as possible across the peninsular. It is really important that parents know what to look out for and if they are concerned, how they can report it. We are making sure that tackling Child Sexual Exploitation is a priority for Plymouth City Council and everyone working for children and families in the city.”

Chrissie Bacon Associate Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children for New Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, is the strategic lead for CSE and the MACSE chair for Southern Devon . Chrissie said “Health staff play a key role in prevention, recognition and treatment of child sexual exploitation and all health practitioners are trained in the signs and symptoms of child sexual exploitation and what to look out for. It is really important that we always remain curious when observing a young person’s behaviour and presentation.”

Signs to look out for:

• Has the young person received unexplained gifts or money?
• Do they use their mobile phone excessively and/or secretively?
• Do they have significantly older friends?
• Have they been picked up from home or school by someone you don’t know?
• Are they associating with other young people who are already known to be vulnerable or involved in exploitation?
• Have they started playing truant from school or regularly going missing from home?
• Have they suffered from a sexually-transmitted infection?
• Are they self-harming?
• Has their appearance changed?
You can visit the new web page here:

More information and resources for parents

National resources:

CEOP – CEOP helps to keep children and young people safe online. CEOP helps thousands of children and young people every year who have been in a similar situation to you.
Pace – Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation – Pace takes referrals directly from parents. If you are worried about child sexual exploitation happening to your son or daughter, get in touch. Someone from their parent support team will be in touch to discuss the help and information Pace could offer. or call 0113 240 5226
NWG – NWG’s principal objective is to offer support and advice to those working with children and young people under eighteen who are affected by abuse through sexual exploitation. or call 01332 585371.

NSPCC – National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Any adult worried about a child can contact our trained helpline practitioners for 24/7 help, advice and support. Email or call 0808 800 5000. For more information about child sexual exploitation visit

Barnardo’s – Barnardo’s is the largest provider of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) support in the UK, with specialist services in over 40 locations 
 
International Missing Persons Helpline – call 116000 for confidential help and advice
Parents Protect – Support group for parents –
 
Local services:

• Devon and Cornwall Police –
• Children’s Services – If you would prefer not to contact police you can contact Children’s Services in your area:
• Devon Tel: 0345 155 1071 or give as much information as you can. Out of hours: 0845 6000388.
• CornwallTel: 0300 123 1116 or email . Out of hours: 01208 251 300.
• Torbay Tel: 01803 208100 or emailTorbay Safeguarding Hub. Email
• Plymouth Tel: 01752 308600. Out of hours: 01752 346784. Email
Important: In an emergency call 999.

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Press Officer 17/03/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind owners ofto ensure their homes are safe from the risk of a fire. This advice comes due to the fact that the Fire Service has already attended five thatch fires this year.

Fire in thatch is not an inevitable occurrence but it is an organic material, subject to different behaviour patterns depending on its surroundings, treatments and choice of materials or styles. It has a finite life span, measured in tens rather than hundreds of years. And above all it is combustible.

Watch Manager, Paul Chamberlain from Taunton, White Watch recently attended two major thatch fires within eight days of each other and wanted to remind thatch owners of the steps to take to reduce the chance of an emergency relating to fire occurring.

Fire in a thatched roof is difficult to detect and once started is almost impossible to control. Once a fire has taken hold within a roof it will spread rapidly, due to the very nature of how thatch burns and detection is often too late and invariably devastating!

Many thatch fires are chimney-related. Modern enclosed solid fuel appliances are designed to burn efficiently and cleanly, often flues pass through old chimneys, where there is only a four-inch thickness of brick, which makes the thatch especially vulnerable to the risk of heat build-up and eventually combustion at a point between the brick and the thatch.

During both incidents Paul attended, members of the public asked why the fire service covers the property in compressed foam. They are several reasons for this:
• It uses less water and often rural areas have a limited water source. So the foam gives a continual firefighting capacity. 
• Water damage to the property is also reduced both inside and out so we have the potential to salvage more personal possessions.
Paul explained further: “The foam is used like a blanket over the thatch to slowly soak in.  Thatch is naturally designed to keep out the elements – one of these being the rain – so water will simply run off it. The best example is that it is very similar to your own skin when you pour water on it runs off.

But if you have a long soak in the bath after a while your skin starts to absorb the water and goes wrinkly. That is basically what the foam does as it soaks into the thatch and has a cooling and wetting ability to stop the spread of fire.

“We also use a lance to further wet the thatch so we can create a fire break which is literally pulling a strip of thatch off to stop the spread of fire.”

To ensure firefighters are operational as quickly as possible upon arrival, Paul added: “If thatch owners could supply the fire service with the switching off points for their water, electric and gas. By isolating these points when we arrive (which we have to for the safety of firefighters) it allows us to be more effective sooner. If you have plans of the layout of the building, even if they are hand drawn, this is also ideal as the Incident Commander can relate this information to the crews, so any valuables that need to be salvaged in the time allowed can be targeted.”

Thatch information
The danger zone for heat transfer and where a fire may start in ais more associated with older and/or listed properties with any two or more of the conditions highlighted below:
• A deep multi-layer thatch where the thatch is over one metre deep–a guide to the depth of thatch can be assessed in relation to the level of visible chimney
• Originally chimney height would have been about two metres from the ridge.
• Regular use of a multi-fuel or wood burning stove or an open fire with an inappropriate, old or poorly fitted liner
• Central chimney surrounded by thatch or a house that is part of a terrace
• Electrical faults and careless workmen, any recessed halogen spot lights, those particularity in bedroom or bathroom ceilings
• Security Lights – situated too close to the eaves.  Any outside lights, particularly those fitted with motion sensors should be installed at least 1 metre away from any thatch
• Discarded cigarettes and garden bonfires
• Television aerials on thatched buildings should be fitted to a freestanding pole. Where this is not possible, the aerial should be fixed to a gable or gable-end chimney, where the cable can be run down the wall, avoiding contact with the thatch. Disconnect your television aerial during electrical storms to prevent damage to the system

Wood burning stoves
The increased efficiency of such stoves, whilst very welcome to residents of otherwise draughty older properties, has its own implications with regard to fire risk. For more information please visit

It is the combination of deep thatch and a central chimney in conjunction with the use of multi-fuel stoves that put properties most at risk.

If in doubt, ask and don’t use any chimney related appliance until you are sure it is safe!

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Press Officer 17/03/2017
South Hams District Council has funded students from King Edwards VI Community College (Kevicc) for a week long fire and rescue course, in a joint project with Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.

Funded by the Council’s Community Safety Partnership, which covers the South Hams, West Devon and Teignbridge, the Phoenix course was held at Totnes Fire Station and forms part of a youth intervention strategy.  The course offers a unique opportunity for young people to develop key life skills, such as; building self-confidence, communication skills and team work, together with important home and fire safety awareness.

Cllr Hilary Bastone, Portfolio Holder for Customer First, said: “This course is very important in offering essential life skills in a challenging, but exciting, environment which helps to raise the confidence of the young people taking part. 

“We value these successful partnership working opportunities, as they are so crucial in allowing us to continue supporting young people within our community and offering opportunities such as these.”

Involving Kevicc’s pupils from Years 9 and 10, the training included a series of challenges, spread over five days.  Practical sessions involved, hose running, the use of breathing apparatus for search and rescue, learning about road traffic collisions and how to rescue a casualty safely and essential first aid, together with a range of thrilling team building games and exercises.

Area Manager Neil Blackburn, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Our Phoenix courses provides a unique opportunity for young people to work with the Fire and Rescue Service and take part in a variety of physical and mental challenges that improve their life opportunities. 

Phoenix is also designed to reduce fire risk and fire crime through education and helps the development of community awareness.

“The team of Phoenix instructors have enjoyed working with the pupils from King Edwards VI Community College and were impressed by their commitment to the course.”

Sarah Winstone, Assistant Principal at King Edwards VI Community College (Kevicc) said: “This has been an excellent opportunity and experience for our students. They have loved every minute of it and were really proud to take part, especially in the passing out parade.”

Joelle Cornish, mother of one of the pupils participating, agreed: “My son has had a hugely positive week.  He’s learned teamwork, self-respect and it’s been a very motivating experience.  We’re grateful that he’s had this opportunity.”

Following the demanding days of training, the fifth day ended with a traditional Pass Out display and celebration ceremony in front of friends, family and teachers.  Students each received a certificate of completion.

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Press Officer 07/03/2017
The police and the security and intelligence agencies depend on information from you. Be their eyes and ears and help keep yourself, your family and your local community safe by looking out for suspicious activity and reporting it to the police, in confidence.

You may see or hear something that could be that vital piece of information needed to stop a terrorist attack.

Terrorism is rare in the UK, but an attack could happen at any time or place without warning. The current threat to the UK stands at severe, which means an attack is highly likely.

By working together with the police, staying alert and thinking about your safety and security at home or work or when you are out and about, you can make it harder for terrorists to plan or carry out an attack.

If you have any information about suspicious activity or behaviour, you can report it in confidence, either by calling the police confidentially on 0800 789 321 or making an online report at 

Remember, in an emergency, if you need urgent police assistance, you should always dial 999.

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Press Officer 06/03/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind all businesses to consider fire risks in their organisations, and make sure that their employees are aware of the causes and consequences of fire.

Most businesses that suffer a fire do not recover. In these competitive times when growth and sustainability are a priority, preventing and safeguarding businesses against financial and commercial loss is of key importance.

A fire can cause major disruption for any business but there is a far greater chance of recovery if risks have been identified, and appropriate arrangements have been put in place to prevent fires starting, or to lessen their impact.

Fire safety is important and all businesses must have a   This is the cornerstone of fire protection for any business.

How do you do a ?
• Identify the fire hazards.
• Identify people at risk.
• Evaluate, remove or reduce the risks.
• Record your findings, prepare an emergency plan and provide training.
• Review and update the fire risk assessment regularly.

Fire safety advice to all businesses:
• Store stock safely: keep corridors, stairs and exits clear
• Identify alarm points so you can warn others
• Make sure doors are closed to stop fires from spreading
• Place things that catch fire away from things that cause fire
• Let someone know if you spot fire safety problems
• Ensure everyone knows what to do if a fire alarm sounds

After a fire when re-occupying your premises:

• Walk the escape routes and check that they are clear and available
• Test your fire warning system
• Water pressure in the area may have been affected so if you have a sprinkler system fitted check it has not been affected

Prevention Work
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service work closely with businesses throughout the year. Helping them to effectively manage their fire risks, safeguard their staff, premises, stock and potentially their livelihood.

If you would like to speak to a local Business Safety Officer you can contact us on the following numbers/email or access our service website:

Business Safety Helpline: 01392 357200
Business Safety Email:
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service website:

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Press Officer 02/03/2017
Taw and Torridge Voluntary Services (TTVS) has been recognised for its support to the fire service campaign to provide home safety advice to those most in need.

TTVS has referred more than 200 people to the fire service so that they can be given home fire safety advice and smoke alarms fitted in their home if required.

Station Manager Kevin Patterson, Community Safety Manager for North Devon, said: “We are extremely grateful to organisations such as TTVS who help us to keep those most in need safe in their homes.

“They are in contact with lots of people who we would not otherwise be aware of so if we can work together it is to everyone’s benefit.”

Kevin presented a certificate to mark the 200th referral made by TTVS to the Service at its volunteer centre in Bideford.

TTVS helps vulnerable people with day-to-day living and also assists community groups to start, grow and survive against a backdrop of shrinking funds.

TTVS is the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) for Torridge District, incorporating a Volunteer Centre (VC), and has been representing and supporting the voluntary and community sector in Torridge since 1988.

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Press Officer 01/03/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service realise that fire safety may not be at the forefront of your mind, when you have the temptation of a tasty pancake, sprinkled with lemon juice and sugar in front of you. But it is important to keep an eye on the pan as well as the pancakes!

Top Tips
• Never leave any cooking or kitchen . It only takes a few seconds for an unattended pan or cooker to ignite and develop into a serious and life threatening fire.
• If the pan does catch fire, do not move the pan
• Never put the food in the pan if the oil begins to give off smoke. Keep theoven, hob and grill clean, a build-up of fat and grease can catch fire.
• Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob, take care if you’re wearing loose clothing.
• Do not leave saucepan handles sticking out to avoid them getting knocked off the stove.
• Use spark devices to light gas cookers as they are safer than matches and lighters as they don’t have a naked flame.

If the pan does catch fire:
• Don’t take any risks. Turn off the heat if it is safe to do so.  Never throw water over it.
• Don’t tackle the fire yourself.
• Get out, stay out, call 999.

Smoke alarms
A will greatly increase your chances of escaping unharmed.  Have an escape plan and follow it – know exactly which way you will leave the house, and know where you will go.

Stay alive, stay safe, and make sure the alarm works properly;
• Test your smoke alarm(s) regularly
• Change the battery every year (unless it’s a 10 year alarm)
• Clean it out properly at least twice every year, by vacuuming the inside.

to request free Home Safety advice call free on: now 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit our website

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Press Officer 24/02/2017
West Devon Borough Council have teamed up with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service in a joint project aimed to motivate young people and teach them important fire and rescue skills.

The Phoenix Project, founded by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, is a week-long course which gives youngsters an insight into the various services which the Fire and Rescue teams provide for residents.

Youngsters are taught important life skills such as respect, team building, first aid and trust, as well as important fire and home safety awareness.

The scheme is designed to support teenagers who might have been excluded from school, or lacking certain abilities. It aims to boost their confidence by encouraging them to participate in fun and challenging exercises.

The Phoenix Project is financed by the Community Safety Partnership and operates across West Devon, the South Hams and Teignbridge. Working with agencies from around the county it focuses on delivering initiatives to make your community a safer place.

Held at Tavistock Fire Station, 6 youngsters from Tavistock College and 6 from Okehampton College took part in the course.

Students received mentoring from senior fire and rescue officers which build respect for uniformed officers and the responsibilities they hold. They learnt how to use specialist breathing apparatus and took part in practical sessions involving hose running.

The week concluded with an exciting ‘Pass Out’ parade, where the youngsters demonstrated, to proud friends, families and teachers, what they had learnt throughout the course. This included demonstrations where the youngsters worked together to take part in practice sessions of hosing down a vehicle in the event of an engine fire, hosing down a building and running the hoses from the fire engine.

At the end of the drills, amid applause from Fire and Rescue Officers, Police Officers, teachers and parents who attended the event, the Mayor presented the youngsters with certificates of completion.

Cllr John Sheldon, Mayor of West Devon, said: “This is a fantastic project involving young people, which offers them the opportunity to develop important life skills which they are unlikely to have encountered before. Students have shown great composure under some challenging situations and have worked hard to complete each task to a high standard. They should be proud of their achievements on completing the course.

“These courses are crucial to providing valuable community safety skills for our young people and West Devon Borough Council are committed to providing these opportunities, alongside our partner organisations.”

Area Manager Neil Blackburn, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “It was great to see how much the students enjoyed the course and our Phoenix instructors enjoyed working with them. “The course is designed to be fun but can also be hard work and the commitment from all the young people to the activities was impressive.”

Paul Prescott, Engagement & Aspirations Manger, Tavistock College, said: “Tavistock College has taken part in The Phoenix Project for four years and we have seen first-hand that it is a very useful intervention tool; the positive impact is visually immediate and allows our students to progress and thrive socially and academically. We are very lucky that we are able to engage so easily with our community and the parade is testament to what our youth can achieve.”

Principal of Tavistock College, Sarah Jones, agreed, “The project is designed to build self-esteem and responsibility through teamwork and it fills our students with pride and moral courage.  We are exceedingly grateful for the opportunity of such a wonderful experience and we would like to thank West Devon Borough Council, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue.”

Mrs Charlie Edwards, Director of Inclusion & Safeguarding, added: “Okehampton College is very pleased to be working with the Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade again this year on the Phoenix Project.  As a college we recognise that there are many different ways in which young people learn, and experiences such as this can stand out for them and the lessons they will learn in this environment will hopefully stay with them for years to come.

This project seeks to encourage various skills in young people such as team work and leadership, along with raising self-esteem and aspirations; all in an environment that suits some young people who benefit from a more active style of learning.  We have seen this project have a tangible impact on our students over the years, with increased self-esteem and higher aspirations because of the activities put on by the Fire Brigade and West Devon Borough Council having a noticeable impact long term on these young people.

Students return to college highly enthusiastic about the support they have received and motivated to use the experience to support the rest of their college work.”

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Press Officer 24/02/2017
A landlady has been fined £1,000 after Teignbridge District Council took action to prevent potential tenants from living in unsafe conditions.

The woman was taken to court for failing to comply with an improvement notice and carry out fire precautions and provide adequate heating in the property following an investigation by Teignbridge and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. The flat owner was given time to take up offers of help and carry out the work.

In May 2016 Teignbridge issued an improvement notice which requires a landlord to carry out work with certain hazards within a certain amount of time or else the landlord can be prosecuted. While minor improvements were made, the main work wasn’t done and it still meant anyone who lived there was being put at risk because fire precautions were not in place.

The defendant did not attend court and the case was heard in her absence at Torquay Magistrates Court on Monday 13 February 2017. She was fined £1,000 plus a victim surcharge of £100. Teignbridge was awarded full costs of £956.25.

Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Teignbridge District Council’s executive member for housing and planning, said: “The court result highlights our role in protecting private tenants seriously, but also that landlords have a duty to keep their properties in a good state of repair with sufficient fire safety measures in place.

“Many private landlords do provide safe homes and our first approach is always to resolve issues in a co-operative way first. Teignbridge tightened its enforcement policy in January 2016 to be able to take a more robust approach to how landlords manage their properties.

“We will continue to crackdown on those who do not meet their legal responsibilities and will take action to protect people and enable them to have a safe roof over their heads.”

Landlords have certain legal obligations when it comes to fire safety and protection of their properties and the safety of people who reside in their premises. The fire safety measures required depend on the potential risks in different types of buildings.

Legislation requires that landlords carry out fire risk assessments in all areas of their properties. This process will identify any fire hazards and who is at risk and decide if anything needs to be done to remove or reduce that risk.

Watch Manager Paul Farmer, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “At the very least landlords should ensure that there is an adequate means of escape in case of fire, and landlords of shared properties in multiple accommodation will have additional obligations.”

New laws, expected to come in later this year, include plans for the creation of a database of ‘rogue’ landlords’, banning orders for prolific offenders and powers to impose civil penalties of up to £30,000.

Tenants who are concerned about their living conditions should discuss the situation with their landlord first. If a landlord is unresponsive, or unwilling to install alarms or carry out other works to meet legislation, they can report the matter to Teignbridge’s housing services team.

Teignbridge encourage landlords to join their local association or network to keep up to date on laws and guidance as well as getting access to support and advice on tenancy related matters. The council also holds regular free landlord events and workshops featuring speakers from a wide range of professional services on topical issues that landlords need to be aware of. 

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Press Officer 23/02/2017
New technology used by firefighters at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Exeter last night (21 February) helped prevent the intense fire spreading across the roof which could have resulted in the entire building becoming involved.

Fire officers have revealed how a new manual water misting system, currently on trial in the Service, contained the fire to a small area of roof above the sauna and health suite.

The fire severely damaged the health suite before breaking into the ventilation ducting and spreading into the roof space.

Part of the major firefighting operation involved drilling holes through the flat roof before inserting a hardened steel spear device to spray water into the voids.

Incident Commander Neil Blackburn said: “This was a significant fire with large amounts of thick smoke and there is no doubt that the use of this new technology helped bring the fire under control by containing the flames close to the room of origin.

“This allowed us to aggressively fight the fire without putting firefighters at risk. The new technology has the potential to fundamentally change how fires are tackled in the future.”

Around 120 firefighters were at the scene throughout the evening and 40-50 people were evacuated from the leisure centre. One person was treated at the scene for minor burns and another for smoke inhalation. 

Area Manager Blackburn said: “The emergency services worked closely together to bring this major incident to a safe conclusion. We’d like to thank Marks and Spencer’s for the use their café as an emergency reception centre and the public for their support, particularly as a main road had to be closed during rush hour.”

More information about the progress of the incident is available on the Service website .

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Press Officer 22/02/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind you to make sure your chimneys are safe and clean as possible, especially if you own a thatched property. Last year the fire service attended a total of 26 thatched fires of these, 23 were chimney fires and three were thatch roof fires. 
According to English Heritage the number of thatched properties listed in Devon and Somerset is 5,916.

Marc House, Community Safety Prevention Manager said: “Fire in a thatched roof is difficult to detect and once started is difficult to control. Once a fire has taken hold within a roof it will spread rapidly, due to the very nature of how thatch burns; and often the results are devastating!

“To keep yourself and your family safe from fire you should take care to have your chimney swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn. If the worst should happen, a smoke alarm can give you the extra time you need to escape in a house fire – make sure you test yours regularly.

Thatch fire
is not an inevitable occurrence but it is an organic material, subject to different behaviour patterns depending on its surroundings, treatments and choice of materials or styles. It has a finite life span, measured in tens rather than hundreds of years. And above all it is combustible.

Modern enclosed solid fuel appliances are designed to burn efficiently and cleanly, often flues pass through old chimneys, where there is only a four-inch thickness of brick, which makes the thatch especially vulnerable to the risk of heat build-up and eventually combustion at a point between the brick and the thatch.

The danger zone for heat transfer and where a fire may start in a thatch is more associated with older and/or listed properties with any two or more of the conditions highlighted below:
• A deep multi-layer thatch where the thatch is over one metre deep–a guide to the depth of thatch can be assessed in relation to the level of visible chimney
• Originally chimney height would have been about two metres from the ridge.
• Regular use of a multi-fuel or wood burning stove or an open fire with an inappropriate, old or poorly fitted liner
• Central chimney surrounded by thatch or a house that is part of a terrace
• Electrical faults and careless workmen, any recessed halogen spot lights, those particularity in bedroom or bathroom ceilings
• Security Lights – situated too close to the eaves.  Any outside lights, particularly those fitted with motion sensors should be installed at least 1 metre away from any thatch
• Discarded cigarettes and garden bonfires
• Television aerials on thatched buildings should be fitted to a freestanding pole. Where this is not possible, the aerial should be fixed to a gable or gable-end chimney, where the cable can be run down the wall, avoiding contact with the thatch. Disconnect your television aerial during electrical storms to prevent damage to the system.

Wood burning stoves
The increased efficiency of such stoves, whilst very welcome to residents of otherwise draughty older properties, has its own implications with regard to fire risk.

Such efficiency depends on a high flue gas temperature of around 500°C which is concentrated in a narrow air column. When installed in a properly regulated, modern chimney this type of system is a highly effective way of getting maximum heat out of burning wood; but where ancient chimney stacks are concerned, the inappropriate introduction of such installations, with metal liners can create serious problems.

If the use of such stoves is to be contemplated in an old thatched house, it is essential that a concrete of pumice insulated liner be inserted to isolate the hot gases from the surrounding brickwork.

If in doubt, ask and don’t use any chimney related appliance until you are sure it is safe!

Smoke alarms
Fit working on each floor level in your home. Consider buying an alarm with a ten year battery, otherwise change the battery every year alarm and regularly test your smoke alarm.

For more or visit The Thatch Advice Centre –

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Press Officer 21/02/2017
Recently residential areas within Frome, Somerset have had a spate of wheelie bin fires. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are asking residents and businesses to store all their bins out of sight, to avoid them becoming a target for arsonists. A wheelie bin on fire outside a window or against a house can endanger the lives of people inside.

is a serious crime and anyone convicted faces a length prison sentence and a significant fine. Furthermore, it comes with a financial impact as each time the fire service is called out it results in a significant cost to the taxpayer.

Don’t let your bin become a target for arsonists
• Store all wheelie bins away, especially at night, to avoid them becoming a target for arsonists
• Only place your wheelie bin out on collection day and return it to your property as soon as possible after collection
• Whenever possible, wheelie bins should be stored securely behind locked gates
• Do not overfill your wheelie bins or leave loose rubbish around them
Safety advice
• Do not place hot items in the bin, for example:  smoking materials, hot embers from coal/wood, hot ash, etc
• Do not store wheelie bins by windows or doors – any fire in the bin could easily spread to your property

Crimestoppers
If anyone has any information about fires no matter how big or small please telephone crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where they can give details completely anonymously.

For more information on how to prevent

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Press Officer 15/02/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service have recently formed an exciting new prevention partnership in the area of home safety with Livewell Southwest; a major health and social care provider within Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon.

Livewell SW is community based and they engage with a range of people of different ages and vulnerabilities, often in their home environment. This naturally lends itself to a source of valuable referrals to the home safety partnership. So when Livewell SW work with inpatients who are about to be discharged home they use an electronic patient record care plan called System1.

This now provides prompts to staff to consider a referral to the home safety partnership.  The aim is that these referrals will become commonplace and will help Livewell SW in its ambition to help people to be safe and well at home.

John Mellor, from the West Devon Group (Partnership Development & Youth Inclusion Officer) said: “This valuable partnership means we will now receive a high number of quality referrals for very vulnerable people in the SW. This is a great example of partnership working that has a real benefit to the people we work with. You can’t underestimate the importance of fire safety in the home.  From the start Livewell have been very keen to develop the partnership and have expanded the original partnership from Plymouth, to Tavistock and Kingsbridge hospitals.”

The idea was instigated by Natasha Whitford-Robson, occupational therapy support worker who joined Kingfisher ward at Mount Gould hospital a year ago.

Natasha explained: “Part of my role involves going into the community for ‘environment visits’ to patient’s homes that have left our care. When visiting I was surprised to find some homes had no smoke alarms at all, or exposed wiring and over loaded sockets. Sometimes there was the issue of hoarding, preventing a fast exit if they were to have a fire.

 “I then questioned why we were allowing patients to be discharged from our care and then maybe going home into an unsafe environment. I carried out some research, which lead me to make contact with the Fire Service and everything escalated from there. My goal was for every patient in Livewell to have the opportunity to have a free home safety check.

“I’d like to see everyone becoming more risk aware, not only the patients but the staff so they know what to look out for – for instance a patient might have several burns on their clothing, so it would be automatically highlighted that they are a heavy smoker. It’s about everyone being more visually aware, so the patients after leaving the hospital are as safe as possible when in their own home.”

Lisa Gimingham, deputy locality manager for Livewell South West explained:  “I have a responsibility for several services including quite a lot of metal health services. Three or four months ago, Natasha, gave a presentation, to some of the senior operational management team with John Mellor from the Fire Service,explaining what a Home Fire Safety involves. They were seeking to form a partnership with an organisation like Livewell, as we cover health and social care.  We’re a big organisation with over 2,500 staff working with vulnerable people who could really benefit from a partnership like this.

“I was particularly pertinent to me as a couple of years ago one of the teams I was working with were involved with a lady who sadly died after setting fire to her flat. I attended the coroner’s court and that made me think about how we work and engage with people in terms of home safety and fire. Lots of our service users smoke or have other habits that put them at a higher risk. So someone with mental health issues might tamper with a smoke alarm as they feel it is monitoring them.

“Working with the FS in this way seemed like a really positive move. Livewell has expanded and now covers a large area of the SW, so we’re taking about potentially reaching many thousands of service users with different vulnerabilities. We’re looking forward to referrals coming into the partnership as well as working alongside DSFRS.”

The importance that a home fire safety visit can make to a vulnerable person’s life is invaluable.

to request free Home Safety advice call free on: now 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit our website

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Press Officer 15/02/2017
Valentines Day is fast approaching. A day when traditionally chocolate, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones.  Maybe you’re planning a romantic candle lit meal at home?

Without wishing to put out the fire of passion, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind you of some fire safety tips in the home. Over 50% of fires start in the kitchen, it’s all too easy to get distracted when cooking your loved one a special meal, especially after a drink.

Rather than ruining a romantic moment, keep the fire safety tips below in mind and stay safe.

Cooking safely
There are several things you can do to prevent fires when using a cooker:
• make sure you don’t get , even for a short period of time, turn off the cooker
• turn saucepans so the handles don’t stick out over the edge of the hob or over another ring make sure tea-towels aren’t hanging over the cooker and don’t put oven gloves on top of a hot cooker
• keep anything that can catch fire – potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or curtains – away from your cooker top
• double check that the cooker is off when you have finished cooking

are best placed:
• on a heat-resistant surface – be especially careful with night lights and tea lights, which get hot enough to melt plastic
• in a proper candle holder, so they don’t fall over
• out of draughts and away from curtains, other fabrics or furniture, which could catch fire
• away from clothes and hair – if there’s any chance you could forget a candle is there and lean across it, put it somewhere else

Smoke Alarms
Stay alive and stay safe with a . This will greatly increase your chances of escaping from a fire unharmed. Without one you and your family are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home.
 
Check that a smoke alarm is fitted on each level of your property:
• once a year – change your battery or consider buying a ten-year alarm which will not require frequent battery changes
• regularly check your alarms by pressing the button
• once a year –   vacuum and wipe the smoke alarm casing to ensure dust isn’t blocking the sensor chamber (for mains wired alarms, switch off first).
By not getting too caught up in the heat of the moment you’ll hopefully have a sizzling hot but safe Valentine’s night!

Thought about to request free Home Safety advice? Call free now on 0800 05 02 999. For any other fire safety advice, contact the Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue helpline on: 01392 872288 or visit our website

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Press Officer 09/02/2017
A phone charger started a fire which caused significant damage to an Exmouth teenager’s bedroom in the early hours of this morning.

Fire crews were called to St Margaret’s View at 1.19am and extinguished the fire in a first floor bedroom using a hose reel jet. The room was damaged by fire, heat and smoke.

The girl had seen a fire in the corner of the room and woke the rest of the family. Her mother closed the door of the bedroom and the family were able to leave the house.

Station Manager Nigel Deasy, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The family did the right thing by closing the door on the fire and leaving the property safely before calling 999.

“We would like to remind people to ensure they buy chargers from a reputable retailer or the product manufacturer as unofficial chargers are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations.

“In addition, do not leave electrical items charging on soft furnishings which allow a local heat build-up with the risk of it causing a fire.”

Electrical Safety First and the Fire Kills campaign have the following tips to help shoppers avoid dangerous fake and substandard electrical products:

• Buy electrical products from reputable retailers, this way you can be assured you’re buying the real thing.
• Check prices and shop around! Check online shops and if possible, visit the high street. If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is.
• Check that voltage is 230-240V, 50Hz and that products are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger
• Look for the padlock symbol at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in your payment details.
• Beware glowing reviews, especially if the reviewers aren’t verified.
• Beware of words qualifying an item’s authenticity, if the seller claims the product is ‘genuine’, ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ double check the source. Most reputable retailers don’t need to sell their products like this.
• Look for the seller’s contact details, for online marketplaces. Look for a full address and not just a PO Box number.  Not all websites with a .co.uk address are based in the UK
• Read product guarantees, terms and conditions, and returns policies before you buy

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Press Officer 08/02/2017
Would you have the enthusiasm to restart your business?

Following a recent major fire in Exeter, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are hosting an event looking at supporting compliance and business continuity after a fire. This is targeted for small to medium businesses.

The event will be held at the Redcliffe Hotel, Paignton, on Monday 13 February 2017. There will be three sessions starting at 10:30, 12:30, and 14:30.

These will involve a 50 minute presentation from local business owners who have had a fire and will share their experiences.

There will also be advice from the Service and an open forum/ workshop at the end of the presentation with relevant experts to answer any questions or concerns.

This event is being kindly supported by Argos Fire Protection Limited and The Redcliffe Hotel.

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Press Officer 03/02/2017
Members of Abbey Gateway Club and their support workers visited Barnstaple Fire Station to learn new skills to help them complete their Gateway Award.

The Gateway Award is an activity award scheme, based on the same principles as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, but adapted by Mencap for adults with learning difficulties.

The award encourages people to gain new skills and experiences, become more independent, make friends, be active in the community and improve their health and well-being.

While working on the Lifestyle section of the award, the group visited Barnstaple Fire Station and took part in role play exercises to consolidate their learning.

Community Champion Sallie McKay-Roper, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The group enjoyed a variety of hands-on activities which really helped to bring the experience to life and were given an opportunity to go in the Bronto.

“One of the participants lives on the third floor of an old building and was concerned that he would not be able to be rescued if there was a fire in his house, so being reassured that the Bronto would reach him has really helped put his mind at rest.”

Club leader James Russell thanked Sallie, Steve Fisher and Barnstaple Blue Watch for a truly enjoyable and educational experience. He said: “We will be safer now we know what to do if we have a fire, thank you.”

Firefighters also arranged to carry out home safety visits at some of the participants’ homes to ensure they are as safe as possible.

If you’d like to know more about Abbey Gateway call/text Amanda on 07988 797 785 or email: and if you would like free home fire safety advice call the fire service on 0800 05 02 999.

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Press Officer 03/02/2017
The Service will be carrying out a major exercise at the Civic Centre in Plymouth on Sunday morning (29 January).

Seventeen fire crews will be involved and there will be smoke visible from the top floors of the building.

Exercise director Station Manager Dave Marsh said: “We’re very grateful for everyone’s support with the exercise and for members of the public for their patience in allowing us to conduct realistic events that help us protect our community better.

“They may see lots of smoke, emergency services personnel and vehicles in the area but please do not be alarmed, it is only an exercise.”

The event is designed to test the Service’s procedures for fighting fires in high rise buildings and improve both firefighter and public safety.

Some areas around the civic centre may be cordoned off and inaccessible to members of the public. The exercise is due to start at 10.30am although there will be some personnel at the scene earlier and is scheduled to take up to five hours.

The exercise will involve crews from across Devon and Somerset which are most likely to have to tackle high rise building fires and other emergency services will also be present.

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Press Officer 26/01/2017


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