Lucky escape for woman who entered frozen lake to save dogs

‘Don’t try to be a hero during the cold weather’ – that’s the advice of 44-year-old Dani Michaels, who dialled 999 after her friend Jenny entered a frozen lake in Ashford, in an attempt to save their dogs.

The friends were out walking their Labrador and Alsatian-cross this morning when the excitable dogs ventured onto a lake that had iced over, known locally as ‘the moat’, behind Tool Station in Hall Avenue, Ashford.

In a matter of seconds, the weight of the dogs caused the ice to break, plunging them into the freezing water. The friends desperately searched for a way to reach them, but suddenly Jenny decided to get into the water.

Dani, from Willesborough, said: “I was on the other side of the lake looking for a way to get closer to the dogs, and then I saw Jenny get in – I was so shocked and started shouting.

“Her emotions and love for the dogs just took over, but it was not the right thing to do.

“I dialled 999 as soon as I spotted her in the water. A passer-by helped me to direct emergency services to the lake from the road – and for that I am very thankful.”

Fortunately, Jenny and the dogs managed to scramble out of the frozen lake without assistance before rescue services arrived, and she was looked after by paramedics from SECAmb. But not everyone is as lucky, and on average there are around 50 drowning tragedies each year in the UK.

Dani said: “My advice to anyone who finds themselves in this sort of situation is, don’t try to be a hero and end up putting yourself at risk – call the emergency services. Dogs are much more likely to get out of the water unharmed than we are.”

Following this near miss, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to be careful around water, and especially frozen lakes in the current weather conditions.

Group Manager for Community Safety at KFRS, Leanne McMahon said: “Dani’s words are spot on, please don’t try to be a hero in this weather, please always call 999. If you’re getting into unknown waters, especially if the water has turned to ice, it’s hard to see the hidden dangers and sometimes it’s not as safe as you might think.”

Leanne added: “The water is often deeper than it looks and when it’s very cold like it is presently, this can quickly cause cramp and breathing difficulties known as cold water shock, which can lead to tragic circumstances. Many rivers and lakes can also contain hidden rubbish and debris such as shopping trolleys and broken glass which can cause injuries, and often the water can be polluted which can affect your health.”

In today’s incident, Jenny entered the water to try to save the dogs, but that’s not advisable. Here are some top tips when it comes to dogs and water:

  • Never enter the water to try and save a dog – dogs are usually much stronger swimmers than we are, and often a dog will manage to find its way out of water on its own.
  • Avoid throwing sticks or balls near water for dogs – they will go after it if they think you want it back even if you’ve thrown it too far or into dangerous water.
  • Even dogs that like swimming can usually only swim for short bursts – keep an eye of your dog and don’t let it enter the water if it’s older or tired.
  • If your dog loves the water make sure you have control and keep it on a lead to prevent it jumping into hazardous or unsafe areas.
  • Remember the wet riverbanks, steep edges or jagged rocks can make it hard for a dog to get out of water, and it can be a slip risk for owners.
  • Don’t lean into water and try and lift your dog out – you could topple in.
  • If your dog has struggled in the water it may have inhaled water and should see a vet, as dogs can drown after the event if water has entered the lungs.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service  28 February 2018


Kent Fire and Rescue Service will shortly have around 73 defibrillators that they wish to donate to Community groups, charities etc. The units will be free but given on the understanding that from handover maintenance and responsibility for  the units stays with the successful bidders.

Contact us to be put in touch with KFRS



Mum saves son from toxic battery smoke

A quick-thinking mum saved her son from toxic smoke after a charging bag containing a remote control car battery, exploded.

The popping sound of the charging bag bursting at 11.15pm on Friday, 10 February, prompted Karen Major, to check on her 11-year-old son in bed.

Upon opening his bedroom door she found Sam fast asleep surrounded by thick grey smoke, with the battery charging in its charging bag on the floor next to him – burning the carpet.

She woke her son, turned the power off and got out of the house as quickly as she could before calling 999.

Once Kent Fire and Rescue Service was on the scene, crews entered the home wearing breathing apparatus and removed the battery in the bag. They then used a pressure fan to clear the property of smoke.

Karen said: “I was watching a film downstairs when I heard the popping noise and then noticed an acrid smell. When I saw what had happened in Sam’s room I considered throwing the battery out of the window, but I decided the best thing to do was to get Sam and I out to safety and call Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

“I truly believe the charging bag saved Sam’s life. If the battery hadn’t of been in the bag, I think things would have been very different. I will never let those type of batteries be charged in the bedroom again, especially not on carpet, and I’ll always use a charging bag.

“I contacted the toy manufacturer, not to blame them, but to urge them to encourage customers to buy charging bags when purchasing these sorts of batteries – they’re only about £7.”

Jason Visser, Watch Manager for Southborough said: “Sam’s mum did the right thing and got both of them out of the house as quickly as possible. This incident could have had a very different ending if the battery wasn’t in a charging bag – Sam had a very lucky escape. The overheating battery had the potential to be a silent killer – there were no flames, just toxic smoke and fumes.

“We were also able to fit new smoke detectors in the property.”

Following this near miss, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is reiterating safety precautions around charging batteries:

  • When charging batteries place them on a non-flammable surface in a room with a smoke detector. Avoid carpet, sofas etc.
  • Follow the manufactures’ charging guidelines and use recognised and recommended chargers and charging leads
  •  Where possible use a charging bag
  • Avoid charging batteries or any electrical items overnight or if you leave the house
  • Be sure to have at least one smoke detector installed per floor of a property

Kent Fire and Rescue Service  16 February 2018

Council Tax 2018/19

The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner is the last of the precepting authorities in Kent to announce their budget proposals for 2018/19.

We show the combined impact of proposed rises from Kent County Council, Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, Ashford Borough Council and the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Kent County Council and Kent and Medway Fire Authority budgets were announced before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government raised the referendum threshold for Council Tax rises to 3% and may be reviewed.

The table shows the annual Council Tax for a Band D property

Council Tax 17/18 % Rise £ Rise  18/19
KCC 1,178.82 4% 47.16 1225.97
ABC 154.00 2.28% 3.50 157.50
FRA 73.35 2% 1.46 74.81
PCC 157.15 7.64% 12.00 169.15
Total 1563.32  4.10% 64.12 1627.43

We will update this post as more information becomes available

Posts relating to budget consultations:

KCC Budget Strategy 2018/19

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation

ABC Budget Consultation

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation

Enjoy the festive season safely…

Christmas message
How safe will your family be over the Christmas holidays?

This festive season, Kent Fire and Rescue Service would like people across Kent and Medway to have fun, but to make ‘family fire safety’ top of their Christmas lists.

For many people, like our very own Byrnes family, the festive period is an opportunity to spend more time at home, use candles and fairy lights and have a few drinks, but all of these activities can increase the risk of fire.

And while fire safety is important throughout the year, added distractions of Christmas make it especially important to be vigilant during the festive season.

Make Christmas memorable for the right reasons

Too many electrical items plugged into the same socket can cause a fire

Electrics and Christmas lights

Removing batteries from smoke alarms for toys or gadgets could put your family at risk

Smoke alarms and escape plans

Allowing a cigarette to burn on its own could cause a fire


Place candles away from anything that could catch fire

Christmas trees and decorations

Make sure flames are out before you leave the room

Open fires and log burners

Its easy to get distracted - keep looking while your cooking



Kent Fire and Rescue Service 20 December 2017

Christmas tree fire destroys a living room in under a minute

A house fire, most likely sparked by faulty Christmas tree lights, envelopes a living room in a shocking 46 seconds. Fire Kills wants everyone to enjoy their Christmas. Check your Christmas tree lights are in good condition, turn them off before you go to bed and be safe at home over the festive season. Keeping your tree well watered can also prevent fire from taking hold. Fire kills – you can prevent it.

Fire Kills 10 December 2010

Don’t buy fakes

The pressure is on for parents to buy the must have toys on their children’s Christmas list. But in your rush to buy you could unsuspectingly buy fake toys.

Fake toys are made with cheap, nasty materials containing dangerous chemicals and flammable materials. They break easily and can be dangerous for children to use, especially those containing electrical components and batteries.

Take your time & follow these top tips when buying toys:
  • Only buy from shops you trust – be wary of websites you’ve never shopped with before especially if it sounds too good to be true
  • Check the website is genuine
  • Look for the BSI Kite and Lion quality marks
  • Check the packaging for spelling mistakes – do the instructions make sense?

This year’s most popular Christmas toys and gadgets

From top left to right: Soundmoovz Musical Bandz, Star Wars toys including the new BB-9E, HoverKart, Laser X and the Polaroid 3-D Pen.Hoverboards are still popular and the new HoverKart will certainly be at the top of some Christmas lists. Follow these top tips if you are considering buying a Hoverboard this year

Report fake products to Trading Standards

Kent County Council 15 December 2017

Are you ready for Christmas?

Many of us will be dusting down the decorations or buying new, ready to decorate our homes for Christmas.If you are using old decorations make sure you check electrical products for damage and loose wires before you plug them in.

Be careful not to overload sockets especially if you’re using extension leads – use this socket calculator to find out if you’re exceeding the maximum load.If you’re buying new decorations this year then make sure you buy from reputable retailers. Fake electrical goods are not safe; causing electric shocks and fires.

One in six people in the UK has bought a fake electrical item as a Christmas present

Before you buy:


 Experts urge Kodi box users to unplug their devices immediately

WATCH how easily this fake electrical product explodes after just 4 seconds

Kent County Council 15 December 2017

Strategic priorities for Kent Police consultation

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

As Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott sets the strategic priorities for Kent Police.

Earlier this year he published Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan.The plan is kept under constant review and is regularly updated in line with what local communities want.

Mr Scott wants to know what matters most to you, so please take the time to fill out our short survey and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to fill one in as well. You do not need to provide your name or any contact details if you do not wish to.

A summary of responses will be published here when the Safer in Kent Plan is next updated.

Please remember that the Safer in Kent Plan only sets the strategic priorities for Kent Police – it cannot amend or change the way officers are deployed or the way operational decisions are made. These are matters for the Chief Constable to determine. The PCC’s job is to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of the plan and its strategic objectives on your behalf.

Don’t leave engine running in an unattended vehicle

In a Tweet, Kent Police’s Road Policing Unit have warned drivers not to leave their vehicles unattended with the engine running to warm them on frosty mornings.

Note: It is an offence to leave a vehicle unattended on a road unless the engine is stopped.