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Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Press Releases

13 August 2017 Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Local News


Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Press ReleasesPush for public vigilance after derelict building firesWorking in partnership for East Somerset residentsDawlish firefighters receive first of new co-responder vehiclesFrome Fire Station Open DayDrive to arrive!Accommodation on holiday hosting websites subject to fire safety legislation, Service warnsOpen Day at Fire Service HQ!Multi-agency exercise at Torquay MarinaService named as key partner in award winning Better Business for All initiativeTorquay landlady pleads guilty to five fire safety order offencesHaving a BBQ tonight?Summer Water Safety event in Taunton this SaturdayAppeal for on-call firefighters in TopshamDevon & Somerset firefighters run to KensingtonAppeal for on-call firefighters in CreditonAppeal for on-call firefighters in Burnham-on-SeaOutdoor summer safetyFire crews exercise at significant heritage buildingBin Fires in WellsAppeal for on-call firefighters in Shepton MalletHelp and information hub set up for Mount Wise tower block residentsWhile at Glasto never use a BBQ to heat your tentAre you camping at Glastonbury Festival?Multi agency summit held to co-ordinate city response to Grenfell tragedyCaroline awarded Queen’s Fire Service MedalDrive to arrive safely at Glastonbury FestivalAre you taking your Caravan or Campervan to Glastonbury festival?Getting ready for Glastonbury FestivalUpdate regarding Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service’s actions following Grenfell Tower fire, LondonTop 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 Wells

http://www.dsfire.gov.uk/news/newsdesk/pressreleases.cfm The latest news via press releases from DSFRS
On Saturday evening fire crews from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service were called to tackle two deliberate fires within derelict buildings.  The first fire took place in Wellington, Somerset at 19.47 followed by the second in Bideford, Devon at 19.52.

Abandoned buildings can pose several challenges for firefighters. By their very nature, we don’t know what state of repair or disrepair they are in. This poses all sorts of different hazards, such as risks of structural collapse and exposure to electricity. There could be floorboards missing and rails missing from stairwells.

A fire will spread much more quickly in a derelict building because fire safety measures such as doors and alarms may have been removed and disabled. In a derelict building the Fire and Rescue Service may decide that it is simply too dangerous to commit firefighters into these premises, but it’s sometimes impossible to know if people are still inside.

Paul Bray, Fire Protection Manager said: “Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are asking that during the school holiday period everybody who lives, works or passes near to a derelict building becomes even more observant than normal and if then to contact the Police. The Service is encouraging parents to be aware of where their children are and what they are up to during the summer break. Derelict buildings can be seen as playgrounds and young people do not understand the danger they are putting themselves and the emergency services in.”

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer and Chairman of the said: “Arson is a crime and places unnecessary risk to those involved and to firefighters who respond to deal with the impact of deliberate fire setting. At the same time, whilst the Fire Service is dealing with fires in unoccupied and derelict buildings, we are tying up valuable resources that may be needed at other emergencies.

“We urge anyone with information as to who may be setting these fires to call the police or crimestoppers immediately.”

If anyone sees any suspicious activity then they should call the emergency services immediately on 999. Starting fires can sometimes be seen as ‘pranks’ but they can lead to very serious consequences for any victims and offenders alike.

please telephone crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where they can give details completely anonymously.

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Press Officer 09/08/2017
A partnership between Wales & West Utilities and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is helping to raise awareness of the support that people can receive.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service across East Somerset has strengthened its links with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and are now working in partnership to raise awareness of the support that they can provide to local residents.

As part of its ‘Safe and Well’ visits, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service will be distributing carbon monoxide alarms and information on how to keep yourself and your family safe from the ‘silent killer’. The fire service will also be able to give the people it visits information on other schemes Wales & West Utilities runs to help those most in need, including signing people up to the Priority Services Register – through which they can receive extra support from their energy suppliers.

Community Safety Officer, Mike Toop from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said: “We are really pleased to be working in partnership with Wales & West Utilities. It has proved of great benefit to the most vulnerable people in our community ensuring their homes are safer.

“Carbon monoxide is potentially fatal and even low-levels of the poison can cause lasting damage to your health – it’s vital to have a working carbon monoxide detector. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to having the ‘flu’ which can include nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches, stomach pains and chest pains.”

Sarah Hopkins, People & Engagement Director at Wales & West Utilities said: “As a values-based business we’re keen to work with partners that share our way of doing things and our priorities of customer service and safety, so we’re delighted to be working with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. We recently met the exacting British Standard 18477 for our work in supporting customers in the most vulnerable situations but there is always more we can do, and partnerships like this one are a key way we can help deliver for those who need support right across the communities we serve.”

The company is the first gas network to have been recognised for meeting requirements, in line with the exacting British Standard 18477, for its work to help the most vulnerable.

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Press Officer 07/08/2017
Dawlish Fire Station has received the first in a fleet of new vehicles for attending life-threatening medical emergencies.

Dawlish attended 561 co-responder calls in 2016/17 and has taken ownership of the first of a fleet of Ford Kugas which have been designed to meet the needs of the crews specifically to attend these types of calls.

Dawlish Station Commander Dave Williams said: “We’re a busy fire station particularly when it comes to co-responder calls. This vehicle will allow us to attend medical emergencies quickly and safely with the right kit to start giving urgent medical attention.”

Co-responding is a voluntary activity carried out on 20 on-call fire stations across Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service. The Service works with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the quickest possible response to certain medical emergencies.

Whilst fires have decreased, in part due to the Service’s community safety work and national fire safety legislation, medical emergencies have continued to rise. The Service now attends more co-responder calls than primary fires.

So when ambulance control receives a 999 call, local firefighters will be mobilised alongside the ambulance service and provide initial medical treatment and care to patients before the arrival of the ambulance. The firefighters involved have been trained by the ambulance service to deliver basic life support, oxygen therapy and defibrillation using an automated external defibrillator.

Area Manager Neil Blackburn, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We’d like to thank employers and families for contributing to this successful scheme, by allowing these personnel to respond day or night when they are needed within the area where they live or work.” 

Rob Horton, the Responder Manager for South Western Ambulance Service, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service to provide this co-responder service for our patients.

“Early medical intervention undoubtedly saves lives and every second counts when someone goes into cardiac arrest. The sooner that patients can receive help the more likely they are to make a full recovery.”

Additional information

The other fire stations currently taking part in the co-responder scheme in Devon and Somerset are: Axminster, Chagford, Cheddar, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Crediton, Dulverton, Hartland, Hatherleigh, Holsworthy, Ivybridge, Lynton, Moretonhampstead, Nether Stowey, Porlock, Princetown, Seaton, Williton and Woolacombe.

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Press Officer 03/08/2017
Frome Fire Station is holding an open day on Saturday 12 August, 10am-4pm, for all the family to come and learn more about what they do.

There will be lots to see and do and activities to include:

• fire and rescue demonstrations
• fire safety advice
• Fire Fighters Charity stall
• children’s challenge
• coconut shy
• barbecue
• stocks
• raffle

Come and visit us at Frome Fire Station, Keyford, Frome, BA11 1JG, to learn more about the work that we do and how we can help you to improve fire safety, on Saturday 12 August, 10am-4pm.

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Press Officer 31/07/2017
In summertime throughout Devon and Somerset the roads become busier than ever as holiday makers arrive. Watching your speed is important throughput the year but Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is asking all road users to take extra care doing the summer months.

Clearly it is essential that people stick to the posted speed limit but it is also vitally important to get the message across about choosing an appropriate speed for the conditions you find yourself in.

This includes driving too close to the car in front, undertaking and failing to signal are all widely accepted as examples of bad driving. However, some drivers fail to accept that driving too fast is also poor driving despite the fact that this is a contributory factor in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year.

Driving slower
The difference of driving a few miles per hour slower can mean the difference between life and death. The faster someone is driving, the less time they have to stop if something unexpected happens.

Laura Pratt, Road Safety Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service said:  “Driving within the speed limit and within your capabilities, means you protect yourself and your passengers, as well as other road users.”

During the summer months with the extra traffic on the roads it’s wise to allow extra time for your journey. By simply adding another 5-10 minutes you arrive at your destination more relaxed and ready to enjoy your day. You arrive alive!

Laura continued: “Being distracted at the wheel is another common reason for collisions, often due to answering mobile phones, texting or your passengers. A distraction can be as simple as looking down to change the volume on your radio and in that moment you’ve taken your eyes and attentions off the road. You need to have 100% concentration on the road to keep you, your passengers and other road users safe.” 

The facts
• Speed is one of the main factors in fatal road accidents
• The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph
• Fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural “A” roads as urban “A” roads

The law
You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle. The speed limit is the absolute maximum and it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions. The speed limit is a limit not a target.

For more road safety information visit our

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Press Officer 28/07/2017
A Plymouth landlady who advertised her house on popular holiday hosting websites has been given a suspended sentence for fire safety failures.

It is believed to be one of the first prosecutions of a premises advertised on hosting websites of this type in the country.

Judge Lawrie warned that people renting “Airbnb-type premises” must adhere to the same fire safety legislation as all businesses providing sleeping accommodation.

He said: “When you rent out property for whatever circumstances you have a clear obligation to ensure the safety of the occupants.”

Mrs Jean Hendy, the former owner and responsible person for 16 Duke Street, Devonport, appeared at Plymouth Crown Court for sentencing today (Tuesday 25 July) and was given a six month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £5,580 costs plus a surcharge of £115.

Mrs Hendy had previously pleaded guilty to all six charges at Plymouth Magistrates Court and the Judge took her early guilty plea, poor health, previous good character and actions taken when ordered by the fire service into account.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service officers had attended the premises on 8 August 2016 after receiving notification from Plymouth City Council of a complaint received from a member of the public.

The house consisted of a single staircase serving three floors and a converted attic space. Mrs Hendy occupied the ground floor and advertised the use of the upper floors on a number of recognised holiday hosting websites, offering sleeping accommodation for up to nine people.

As officers inspected the premises they identified a number of deficiencies under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which included:
• a lack of a suitable automatic fire detection and warning system;
• inadequate protection to the single escape stair;
• inappropriate storage of bedding and other combustible materials at the base of the single staircase
• lack of emergency lighting

Due to the dangerous conditions found at the premises a prohibition notice was served.

The subsequent investigation by Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service revealed that Mrs Hendy had previously let the premises but this had ceased when a visit by Plymouth City Council identified fire safety concerns. Rather than address the deficiencies Mrs Hendy changed from letting to offering B&B and self-catering.

In summing up, Judge Lawrie describes the premises as a potential “death-trap” and said: “You are a thoroughly careless person who rented out accommodation that put people at significant risk of harm and death.”

Group Manager Paul Bray, Business Safety Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “Anyone who has or is thinking of turning their home into a business providing sleeping accommodation has a duty to ensure the people staying on their premises will be kept safe.

“Identifying ways to earn money from your property is growing in popularity but this must not be at the expense of the safety of others.”

The internet is a great way for connecting people and it also provides a wealth of information, freely available. If you are thinking of or have already started a business, advice and guidance on how to comply with your fire safety responsibilities can be found on the government website at  

Alternatively,

To report concerns about fire safety in a property or for advice about making your business safe contact Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service;

Monday to Friday, 9:00 – 17:00

Call 01392 872288 to be put through to your local fire safety team or
Email

Guidance for people providing sleeping accommodation for paying guests is available here:

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Press Officer 26/07/2017
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service will be opening its doors to the public for a family open day on Sunday 6 August.

Everyone is welcome to come along to learn more about the work of firefighters and how they can make their homes safer. The event is to be held at Service Headquarters, near Exeter, on Sunday 6 August, 10am-4pm.

Funds will be raised for Hospiscare Exmouth & Lympstone and the Fire Fighters Charity. There will be lots for all the family to see and do, including:

• Safety advice and demonstrations
• BBQ
• Fireman Sam Shop
• Face painting
• Service band
• Vintage fire engine
• Children’s Activities
• Bouncy castle

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Please come along to Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, The Knowle, Clyst St George, Exeter, EX3 0NW.

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Press Officer 19/07/2017
Torbay fire crews have taken part in a multi-agency exercise to test its procedures for dealing with a boat fire on the water.

Torquay Marina hosted the event as part of its Sea Safety Day on Saturday 15 July.

The participants included fire crews from Torquay, Paignton and Brixham, the RNLI, Lifeboat, Coastguard, Devon & Cornwall Police and South Western Ambulance Service Trust HART team. Casualty Union volunteers played the injured and the vessel Liberty Lass was kindly supplied by owners Paignton Pleasure Cruises.

The scenario involved a fire breaking out on board a passenger ferry with 12 casualties on board. Two people were rescued from the water and two from the pontoon by the lifeboat crew.

A ‘walking wounded’ casualty was led to safety by firefighters and seven casualties were retrieved from the vessel through a combination of the emergency services involved.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus and hose reel jets to extinguish the ‘fire’ and the learning outcomes from the exercise will be tested with another exercise in September.

The exercise also highlighted to the watching public the potential hazards and risks on board a boat and what to do in the event of a fire.

More boat safety information is on our website .

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Press Officer 19/07/2017
The Service has been named as a key partner in the now award winning Heart of the South West (HotSW) Better Business for All (BBfA) initiative. 

At the national Regulatory Delivery Awards in Birmingham, the partnership won the Government’s Better Business for All Award.  DSFRS are one of a number of active members of the partnership and are proud of not only the award but the group’s progress in working collaboratively with the regions business community.

HotSW BBfA Partnership is an amalgamation of local authority departments and business interest groups that have come together with the common goal of promoting business prosperity whilst making sure they keep their staff and customers safe. 

Paul Bray, Business Safety Lead for DSFRS, said: “The BBfA initiative has been a great opportunity for DSFRS to promote fire safety to the business community.  One of our key objectives is to make Devon and Somerset a safer place to live, work and visit and this forum allows us to help businesses make this happen.  For the group to receive national recognition for its work just goes to show how real partnership working can benefit all concerned.”

Lee Taylor (HotSW BBfA Chair & DS&T Trading Standards) who received the award on behalf of the group said: “Thanks are extended to the management and individuals across our Local Authorities, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, our Economic Development colleagues, the HotSW LEP, the HotSW Growth Hub, and our business partners, local Chambers and the FSB.  They have got behind the BBfA vision and have all contributed greatly towards making our BBfA alliance a reality.”

At the heart of BBfA is the drive to work with businesses with regards to regulation and to support them to meet their legal obligations and by doing so promote a confident and safe business environment.  DSFRS are continuing to work with the group and its partners to make fire safety a key priority for all businesses across the region and to help continue to make the community of Devon and Somerset safe from fire.

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Press Officer 18/07/2017
A Torquay landlady has pleaded guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Mandy Fox, the landlady of 18-20 Market Street, Torquay, appeared before Torquay Magistrates Court on Monday 17 July 2017 and was fined £7,000, reduced from £10,500 for an early guilty plea, and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs to Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and a victim surcharge of £140.

In March 2016 the Service inspected the premises at 18-20 Market Street as part of a multi-agency initiative. The property consisted of four floors; a public house on the ground floor with letting rooms above.

The inspection revealed a number of failings including:

• a lack of a suitable fire detection and warning system, in that the second and third floor had no provision for detecting fire and raising the alarm, and the first floor had just one standalone detector ;
• lack of emergency escape lighting;
• Inadequate protection to the escape route serving the upper floors due to the lack of fire resisting doors;
• Electrical items and quantities of unsecured combustible materials stored in the escape routes; and
• Breaches in the fire separation between the public house and accommodation above.

Due to the level of risk to which the occupants were exposed the Service prohibited the use of all three upper floors.

The investigation revealed that Ms Fox was providing accommodation for overseas students. A fire risk assessment had been carried out at the premises but had only considered the ground floor area. No consideration had been given to the upper floors of the premises and risks to which students sleeping on the premises were exposed.

Group Manager Paul Bray, Business Safety Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The severity of the fine imposed by the court shows that those responsible for the safety of others cannot ignore their responsibilities.

“Fire safety provisions must be suitable for the use and size of the premises and sufficient to ensure in the event of a fire, people are alerted and can leave the premises quickly and safely.

“Information and guidance is freely available. Ignorance is no excuse.”

DSFRS Business Safety Officers will always work with and support those businesses that take their fire safety responsibilities seriously but will not tolerate those that put people at risk.

Further advice and guidance can be found on the governments’ website

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Press Officer 17/07/2017
A long hot summer is what we all hope for, whether it’s in the garden having a BBQ with family and friends, a weekend away under canvas, putting your caravan back on the road or spending time exploring our wonderful coastline both on and in the water.

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

BBQ
If you’ve planned a BBQ 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 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).

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 .

For summer safety advice and to download .

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Press Officer 12/07/2017
Red watch crew from Taunton Fire Station will be holding a summer water safety event this Saturday 15 July, at Goodlands Gardens in Taunton (situated behind Debenhams).

The event starts at 10:30am ends at 16:00pm. Run in partnership with the Royal Lifesaving Society.

Visitors will be able to experience our virtual reality headsets which features our recently launched water safety film called ‘Cold Reality’. This is a virtual reality film about the dangers of cold water shock & peer pressure.
Fire crews from Bridgewater will be on a boat in the river Tone demonstrating their techniques in a water rescue situation. The RLSS will also be present giving advice on safety near water and drowning prevention.

Throwline workshops will also be taking place – so a very hands on day!
Looking forward to seeing you there.
When: Saturday 15, July.
Time: 10:30am ends at 16:00pm

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Press Officer 12/07/2017
Topsham Fire Station is hosting an open evening for prospective on-call firefighters on Tuesday 18 July 2017, starting at 6pm.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is looking for people in the Topsham 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 Topsham Fire Station, Fore Street, EX3 0HF, on Tuesday 18 July, starting at 6pm, and find out what it means to be an on-call firefighter.

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Press Officer 07/07/2017
A team of firefighters from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service will run 200 miles in relay from Exeter to Kensington North Fire Station to raise money for a fund to help the firefighters involved in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The team will leave Service Headquarters at 9am on Friday 14 July and aim to arrive at Kensington North Fire Station at 8pm on Saturday 15 July to present a plaque to Red Watch, the first attending crew at the incident.

Station Manager Danny Slay, who organised the charity event, said: “We wanted to show our respect and gratitude to colleagues who courageously battled the intense fire at Grenfell Tower.

“The Fire Brigades Union has established a fund to support the firefighters and their families in the months and years following the incident. The psychological effects following incidents of this nature can be devastating, debilitating and long lasting.”

Danny will be joined on the run by Alex Hanson (SHQ), John Gilhooly (SHQ), Alex Putman (Camels Head), Andrew Boote (Greenbank) and Dan Lavender (Crownhill), with members running five miles at a time.

The team are aiming to raise £2,500 and more information on how to donate is here:

Their progress can be tracked every two minutes on and people are welcome to join the team on the run at any point on the route.

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Press Officer 06/07/2017
Firefighters from Crediton Fire Station will be at the towns main Tescos store on Sunday 16 July, 10am-1pm, to talk to people who are interested in joining the team.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is looking for people in the Crediton 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 Crediton Tesco’s on 16 July, or call the fire station on 01363 772137 on Tuesday evenings.

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Press Officer 05/07/2017
Burnham-on-Sea Fire Station is hosting open days for prospective on-call firefighters on the following dates:

• Monday 10 July, 2pm to 7pm
• Wednesday 9 August, 2pm to 7pm

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is looking for people in the Burnham-on-Sea 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.

The Service is looking for people who can provide cover during the day Monday-Friday and have permission from their employers if they would need to be released from their primary employment to attend incidents.

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 Burnham-on-Sea Fire Station, Marine Drive, TA8 1NQ, on 10 July or 9 August, and find out what it means to be an on-call firefighter.

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Press Officer 04/07/2017
During the summer months 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, a weekend away under canvas, putting your caravan back on the road or spending time exploring our wonderful coastline both on and in the water.

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

BBQ
If you’ve planned a BBQ 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 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 tents and caravans 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.
• For more information see our page.

Caravans
• Fit and test a smoke alarm in your caravan.
• 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.
For more information see our

Boat Safety
Have an emergency plan

• Ensure everyone knows how to close emergency valves and switches in case of fire.
• Keep a torch easily available to help you escape at night. Make sure you have a spare torch and test them regularly.
• Don’t go to sea without a VHF radio. Have a charged-up handheld, waterproof one ready for use at any time.
• Don’t rely on a mobile phone. There could be no signal and it may not be waterproof.
• Have enough life jackets for everyone on board and keep them in good condition.
• Keep exits clear and keys to hand. Don’t lock or bolt doors and hatches from the outside.
• Track your location so you can tell the emergency services where you are.
• If you need to make a mayday call, check for any landmarks that may help the emergency services find you.
For more information see our page.

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 .

For summer safety advice and to download .

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Press Officer 04/07/2017
Fire crews will be carrying out at exercise at one of the region’s most significant heritage properties on Tuesday 4 July.

Exercise Firewater II will be held at Montacute House in Somerset to test the firefighters response to an incident at a historic building.

Fire appliances will be attending from Yeovil, Martock, Crewkerne, and Street, joined by special appliances from Yeovil and Honiton.

Exercise organiser Watch Manager Ian Balfour, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We’d like to thank the National Trust for allowing us to use their beautiful building to test our firefighting techniques at important heritage sites. We couldn’t carry out this scale of exercise without the participation of the National Trust staff and volunteers and the enthusiasm of the fire crews.

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

The procedures which will be tested during the exercise include: breathing apparatus search and rescue procedures, simulated external and internal firefighting, availability of water supplies and working with National Trust colleagues and non-fire service personnel within the risk area.

Firefighting and salvage operations will have to take account of the many priceless items stored within the Elizabethan mansion.

Keith Bacon, Montacute House Facilities Manager, said: “This pre-planned exercise will give us the chance to test our procedures and build on our strong relationship with local firefighters.

“Of course, we hope that nothing like this ever happens, but we have to be prepared to deal with the worst case scenario.”

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Press Officer 03/07/2017
Over the last two weeks residential areas within Wells, Somerset has had a spate of wheelie bin and rubbish fires. Most of these have occurred within the early hours.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service remind everyone that arson is a serious crime and anyone convicted faces a lengthy 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.

Chris Grantham, Watch Manager for Wells Fire Station said: “We have some simple tips which we urge residents to follow to deter arsonists and help people stay safe in their homes.

“Fires involving rubbish and bins can easily spread to your home so I am urging residents throughout Wells to adopt the following simple advice.”

Top tips
• Ensure your wheelie bin and black bags are not left lying around
• Put your wheelie bin or black bags out on the day of collection and then your bin should be brought back in as soon as possible.
• Your wheelie bin or black bags should be kept in a secure place.
• If you are throwing out old furniture or other household items call your Council to arrange a collection and keep them in a secure area until the collection takes place.
• If you are using a skip for building work or rubbish removal, try to fill it and remove it on the same day. If not, ask the skip hire company for a skip with a lockable lid and position the skip at least six metres from your home.
• Never put hot ash in your wheelie bin.

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. Alternatively, call the Police non-emergency number 101.

For more information on how to prevent Arson .

Home Safety Visits
To request a call free on: 0800 0502999. 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 03/07/2017
Shepton Mallet Fire Station is hosting an open day for prospective on-call firefighters on Sunday 16 July 2017 at 11am.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is looking for people in the Shepton Mallet 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 Shepton Mallet Fire Station, Board Cross, BA4 5DX, on Sunday 16 July 2017, at 11am, and find out what it means to be an on-call firefighter.

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Press Officer 29/06/2017
Devonport tower block residents can drop into a multi-agency information hub to get information and updates about fire safety issues.

Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Community Homes and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service have opened the hub at Devonport Live in 60 George Street to help answer questions in relation to the tower blocks following the confirmation that the cladding needs to be replaced.

Plymouth Community Homes has delivered information updates to all households in the three tower blocks at Mount Wise and are also speaking to residents.

The hub is open from 9am until 5pm today, Saturday and on Monday.

Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “We understand that people will be worried and want to ensure there are people on hand to answer questions and provide the information people need. As a Council we are committed to working with our partners and supporting Plymouth Community Homes however we can.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alex Hanson said: “Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service are supporting the hub and are available to provide advice and reassurance to residents including actions they can take to help make their homes safer and people can also arrange home fire safety visits.”

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Press Officer 23/06/2017
Do you know that BBQs give off poisonous carbon monoxide hours after use? Bringing them into a tent or awning while at to keep warm is a recipe for disaster.

You cannot smell, taste or see Carbon Monoxide. If you suddenly get flu symptoms, or have headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness or weakness you may have Carbon Monoxide poisoning. People often don’t realise that they are being overcome by fumes until it is too late.

are designed as an integral structure with built-in groundsheets and carbon monoxide gases can rise to fatal levels in a matter of minutes if portable or disposable BBQs are used inside for heating purposes. BBQs are designed for cooking not for heating up spaces.

Don’t be tempted to cook inside your tent or awning, unless there’s an area specifically designed for this purpose and you’re sure there is adequate ventilation. To work safely BBQs need more ventilation than your tent or awning can provide and there’s also the risk of fire.

Don’t rely on a Carbon Monoxide detector to keep you safe in a tent or awning. They may be useful at home, in a caravan or in a motorhome, but they are not designed for the conditions found in a tent or awning.

For more information our website for and advice.

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Press Officer 23/06/2017
Camping is very much part of the experience of Glastonbury Festival and Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service want you to fully enjoy the experience while bearing some fire safety tips in mind.

Setting up camp
When you arrive you will be met with a landscape of thousands of tents, and in no time at all you’ll be part of the tented community.

Make sure you know what the fire safety arrangements are on the camp site and where your fire wardens are.

After pitching your tent the best idea is to try to establish some geographical points in your line of vision to your tent in order that you can locate it more easily. Some people make a flag or some other form of eye catching decoration to help make spotting their tent a little easier.

Making friends with your campsite neighbours, is a good idea, not only to keep an eye on each other’s stuff but to buddy up during the festival which is very much part of developing a community spirit.

Fire prevention while camping
Remember, a fire can destroy a within 60 seconds so underlining the dangers is important.
• never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer
• keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children
• flammable liquids and gas cylinders should be kept outside the tent and away from children
• oil-burning appliances shouldn’t be used in or around tents
• keep your cooking area clear of flammable material, including long grass
• have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire

Refuse and rubbish fires
Over full rubbish bins provide the perfect fuel for a fire
• don’t store rubbish by tent openings
• do not store bins or sacks up against your tents as fire can quickly spread
• don’t overfill bins and leave rubbish around
• do not smoke in or around storage areas.

Carbon Monoxide
This year we are focusing on highlighting the risks of poisoning when camping. You cannot smell, taste or see Carbon Monoxide, so…if you suddenly get flu symptoms, or have headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness or weakness you may have Carbon Monoxide poisoning. People often don’t realise that they are being overcome by fumes until it is too late.

Carbon monoxide warning
• Never bring a portable or disposable BBQ in a tent or awning to keep warm as this is a recipe for disaster. Hours after use they are still giving off poisonous carbon monoxide gases. BBQs are designed for cooking not for heating up spaces
• Don’t be tempted to cook inside your tent or awning, unless there’s an area specifically designed for this purpose and you’re sure there is adequate ventilation. To work safely BBQs need more ventilation than your tent or awning can provide and there’s also the risk of fire.
• Modern tents are designed as an integral structure with built-in groundsheets and this means that carbon monoxide gases can rise to fatal levels in a matter of minutes if a BBQ were to be used inside for heating purposes
• Don’t rely on a detector to keep you safe in a tent or awning. They may be useful at home, in a caravan or in a motorhome, but they are not designed for the conditions found in a tent or awning
• Please follow the link for more carbon monoxide advice.

Please visit our website on for more information.

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Press Officer 22/06/2017
A high level multi-agency meeting has been held to ensure measures are in place to ensure the safety of residents in tower blocks in Plymouth following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

The agencies agreed a joined up approach to assessing the risks and implications for the city, including responding to requests for information and action from Government agencies.

The meeting called by the City Council was attended by Plymouth Community Homes, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Devon and Cornwall Police, the Council’s Community Protection, Public Health, Planning and Building Control teams.

The Council is sharing information about high rise buildings with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to ensure all of them are re-assessed.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is proactively carrying out visits to high rise blocks, which are classified as buildings over five storeys high.

Plymouth has the highest number of high rise buildings in the service area, with initial assessments showing there are 73 properties of this type. Initial visits have already been made to properties but there will now be follow up visits.

High rise residential blocks with cladding are being prioritised but all high rise blocks, including non-residential blocks without cladding, will be assessed.

Where necessary, samples of cladding from high rise buildings will be sent for tests.

Agencies are reiterating to property owners the need to ensure building regulations have been followed for all alterations, no matter how small. Minor alterations to communal entrances, stairway lobbies and fire doors for example, can affect the integrity of fire safety systems and compromise means of escape.

Plymouth Community Homes, like most social housing providers, has a high level of fire safety checks already in place. Full risk assessments on all PCH properties are in place and PCH has a fire safety manager, as well as using a leading fire safety consultant and working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

PCH has already worked with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue to carry out an on-site visit and review of the fire safety measures at the three Mount Wise tower blocks, which were found to be up-to-date, compliant and did not require any immediate action. A cladding panel has already been sent for testing under controlled conditions in line with national advice from the Government to all housing providers.

Agencies in Plymouth will also be working together to provide public information and ensure property owners and landlords are clear on what they need to do to ensure safety.

Plymouth City Council chief executive Tracey Lee said: “We have strong partnerships in place in Plymouth and this really helps on urgent and critical issues such as this. We are doing everything we can as one team to ensure all high rise properties in Plymouth are fully assessed, that residents are assured that extra checks are taking place and that property owners and landlords are clear about what they need to do.”

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The Service has implemented an inspection programme for all known high rise premises in Devon and Somerset to ensure that a suitable level of fire safety compliance is achieved, especially where people sleep.
 
“Working with building owners and local authorities, we will be giving reassurance to residents regarding the appropriate fire procedures for their building.”

John Clark, Chief Executive at Plymouth Community Homes, said: “We take the safety and wellbeing of our residents extremely seriously and all our high rise homes have been subjected to robust fire risk assessments, which ensure that relevant fire-safety measures are in place including mains connected smoke alarms and fire doors that exceed the statutory requirements.

“We will work with our partners in the Fire Service and Council to respond quickly to new advice or instruction as a result of the centrally-organised reviews and testing taking place, which will ensure our position on fire safety remains compliant.”

Ends

Notes to editors

A range of information about fire safety for both residents and landlords is available on the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service website.

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Press Officer 22/06/2017
Watch Manager Caroline Anderson has been awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal for distinguished service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Caroline joined Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service in 2005 as an on-call firefighter in South Molton. She then joined the Group Support Team in North Devon before joining the Organisational Development team at Service Headquarters.

Caroline said: “I am totally overwhelmed but of course thrilled. Ever since joining the fire service as an on-call firefighter I have loved working with incredible people and being part of a dedicated team. 

“I am passionate about doing the best I can wearing the uniform I do to help make people safer on the roads and in their homes and also trying to encourage women into the firefighter role.

“However, this only comes with the support and guidance of like-minded colleagues and so I feel extremely fortunate to go to work every day loving my job, enjoying those I work with and work for.”

Caroline was one of four members of the UK Fire Service to receive a Queen’s Fire Service Medal in this year’s Birthday Honours list. 

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell, of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Caroline has been awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal. We congratulate Caroline on this significant achievement, which is very well deserved.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, said: “I would like to thank Caroline for her dedication to the service. The Queen’s Fire Service Medal recognises distinguished service and Caroline has made a huge contribution particularly in terms of promoting diversity within the fire and rescue sector.”

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Press Officer 20/06/2017
If you’re travelling to by car make sure you have a driver who you’re sure will be fit to get behind the wheel – or that you have arranged public transport. Anyone driving under the influence of drugs or drink is dangerous and an offence in its own right.

Drugs
Drugs have an involuntary effect on the eyes that cannot be controlled. This is just one of the many ways police can spot drug drivers – they can arrest you at the roadside if they have good reason to think you have been driving whilst unfit through drugs. The penalties for drug driving are the same as drink driving. Find out more from the .

Drinking
There is no excuse for driving over the limit, you may think you can handle your drink, but…alcohol affects everybody’s driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult while at the same time slowing down your reactions so it takes longer to stop.

Beware the morning after… you could be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink, even if it’s the ‘morning after’. Sleep, coffee and cold showers will not help to sober you up – time is the only way to get alcohol out of your system.

Key messages
• THINK! Don’t drink and drive
• If you get caught drink or driving you’ll be processed like any other criminal.
• If you get caught drink driving you will face a fine of up to £5,000, a minimum 12 month driving ban and a criminal record

Nearly a third of all ticket holders to now come to the site on coaches, trains and other forms of public transport. We’d encourage you to join them, and reduce your carbon footprint.

For more information on

Tips for coping in hot weather
• Avoid the heat: stay out of the sun and don’t go out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) if you’re vulnerable to the effects of heat.
• Have cool baths or showers, and splash yourself with cool water.
• Drink cold drinks regularly, such as water and diluted fruit juice. Avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.
• Listen to alerts on the radio, TV and social media about keeping cool. 
• Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies, such as food, water and any medications you need.
• Wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.
• Check up on friends and relatives who may be less able to look after themselves.

 

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Press Officer 16/06/2017
Then this weekend is the ideal time to check that your smoke alarm and Carbon Monoxide detector is in working order… whether you’re heading to or not. Safety in your is vital as the vehicle is such a small, confined space and a fire can take off frightenly fast.

In a fire, you would have just a few seconds to get out of a burning caravan, which has limited escape options. The warning a working smoke alarm gives can mean the difference between life and death. They are designed to detect fire in its early stages and can give you those precious few moments to get out safely.

Carbon Monoxide detector

The fitting of a , ideally conforming to BS EN 50291-2, is as important. Carbon Monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell and can be produced by appliances that use gas, wood, oil or coal. Carbon Monoxide can also be present in smoke from solid fuel or oil appliances.

Carbon Monoxide is potentially fatal and even low-levels of the poison can cause lasting damage to your health.

If you are living in a while at remember to follow these basic fire safety precautions:
• Fit a smoke detector in your caravan – smoke alarms are the first line of defence against fire. Find out about firefighting arrangements on the site
• Keep a torch handy for emergencies – do not use a lit candle
• Take care when cooking – don’t leave fat pans unattended
• Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children
• If you smoke, use suitable metal ashtrays – never smoke in bed
• Keep the caravan ventilated and don’t block up air vents – it could be fatal
• Before going to bed or leaving the caravan, turn off all appliances
• Fit smoke alarms with a hush button. Check them once a week, clean it once a month and change the battery once a year
• Check all gas fittings. Use arrester valves on gas bottles and make sure your home is adequately ventilated
• To find a gas registered engineer, go to:

BBQs are designed for cooking not for heating up spaces.

Barbecue safety
• make sure your barbecue 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 barbecue to a depth of about 5 centimetres (2 inches)
• never use petrol or paraffin to start, or revive, your barbecue – use only barbecue fire lighters or starter fuel on cold coals
• keep children and pets away from the cooking area
• don’t leave the barbecue unattended
• after cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it
Gas Cylinders (LPGs)
You should take special care when handling gas cylinders (LPGs).

A used barbeque (solid fuel or LPG) should not be taken into a living area (tent, caravan etc.) even when it appears to be extinguished, as CO can continue to be produced for some time after use

Follow these safety tips:
• install a carbon monoxide detector
• keep gas cylinders outside your caravan, They should be turned off unless they are designed to run continuously (such as a fridge)
• change gas cylinders only when they are completely empty
• make sure the new cylinder is secure before connecting it
• do not turn on the cylinder valves before the connection is complete
• before going to bed, or leaving the caravan, turn off all appliances
• if you suspect a gas leak, turn off all appliances and the main cylinder value, open all doors and windows and do not smoke or turn on any electrical switches or appliances until you have been given the all clear
• spare and empty cylinders should be kept in the open air and secured by a safety strap or other quick release device

Thanks to the Caravan and Motorhome Club for additional information.

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Press Officer 16/06/2017
Glastonbury Festival hosts a population of over 200,000 – making it the second largest city within Devon and Somerset, Plymouth being the largest.  Such an enormous site represents a major challenge for all the emergency services who are engaged to ensure public safety throughout the duration of the event.

Involvement for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service means detailed planning prior to the event. During the festival 24 hour resilience and support is delivered as part of a multi-agency approach with resources to cover the operational response, fire protection and enforcement, fire prevention and education and a strategic command team so that public safety is maintained.

Safety messages are delivered throughout the festival and after discussions with Glastonbury festival organisers a particular focus this year is highlighting the danger of .

As part of our prevention and protection work at Glastonbury festival we have will be busy distributing safety posters throughout the site prior to opening.

Spotting the danger signs of CO poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when a fuel such as charcoal, gas or petrol burns incompletely. This could be because an appliance isn’t working properly or might simply happen as part of its normal function.

You cannot smell, taste or see Carbon Monoxide, so…if you suddenly get flu symptoms, or have headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness or weakness you may have Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide is potentially fatal and even low-levels of the poison can cause lasting damage to your health. The best advice is to avoid any chance of being poisoned in the first place.

Did you know that BBQs give off poisonous carbon monoxide hours after use?
BBQs are designed for cooking not for heating up spaces. Modern are designed as an integral structure with built-in groundsheets, if portable or disposable BBQs are bought inside to warm the tent up and carbon monoxide gases can rise to fatal levels in a matter of minutes.

To work safely BBQs need more ventilation than your tent or awning can provide and there’s also the risk of fire.

Disposable BBQ’s
• study the user instructions carefully and follow them closely
• only use in very well ventilated areas
• the foil base gets very hot, so never place on anything flammable
• leave to cool before moving – this may take several hours – consider pouring water over it to make sure it’s out
• do not place in a rubbish bin until it has cooled down
Don’t rely on a carbon monoxide detector to keep you safe in a tent or awning. They may be useful at home, in a caravan or in a motorhome, but they are not designed for the conditions found in a tent or awnings.

We would like to offer some safety tips to make sure that you have a safe and enjoyable time.
• Never take a barbecue into a , . Even a cooling barbecue gives off plenty of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO), which can kill.
• Never use a fuel-burning appliance to heat your tent or awning. Gas and kerosene heaters – unless they are permanently fitted in a caravan or motorhome – should only be used outside. Stoves and barbecues are designed for cooking not space heating.
• Never run a gas, petrol or diesel-powered generator inside a caravan, motorhome, tent or awning. Make sure fumes from a generator don’t blow into your unit or anyone else’s from outside either.
• Don’t cook inside your tent or awning
• Don’t use any other gas, charcoal, liquid or solid fuel appliances inside a tent or awning. Gas-powered fridges and lamps, for example, also need plenty of ventilation to prevent them producing poisonous carbon monoxide. Tents and awnings aren’t generally designed with this in mind.
• Use a , in your though it should never be used as an alternative to the precautions above.
• Always have gas appliances in your caravan or motorhome serviced regularly.

For further safety advice please visit or visit our .

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Press Officer 16/06/2017
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 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 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 buildings.

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

Twenty-eight high rise exercises have been carried out over the last 12 months with two 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 buildings please refer to our earlier press release.

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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 where necessary 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


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