Safety

What’s your excuse?

People speed for a number of reasons:

  • because they are in a rush to get somewhere,
  • because they are unaware of the speed limit,
  • because they enjoy driving fast,

and for many more reasons besides. But there’s no excuse for speeding – it’s a major factor in many road crashes, and the faster a vehicle is travelling, the greater the amount of energy transferred in a crash, and the higher the likelihood of serious injury or death.

View the no need to speed explanimation video showing the risks of speeding, with TRL academy director Richard Cuerden.

Clear snow from a road, path or cycleway

KCC cannot clear pavements so please take extra care when walking.

A common rumour at this time of year is that people are not allowed to salt the pavements – this is untrue.

The government advice is:

You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. It’s unlikely that you’ll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully.

When you clear snow and ice:

  • do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow
  • don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice
  • use salt if possible – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight
  • you can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot
  • pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help

For more information about Kent’s Winter Service, including a map of gritting routes, visit:
www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/what-we-look-after/winter-service

Use the available salt bins to scatter grit over pavements and roads near your house.

Find out where the salt bins are by using the KCC map.
http://webapps.kent.gov.uk/KCC.MyNearestGIS.Web.Sites.Public/Default.aspx?lyrs=36&xmin=594032&xmax=605208&ymin=136304&ymax=143035&bg=_osColour

Extension lead sparks fire

We add advice from Electrical Safety First to an urgent safety warning issued by firefighters after an extension lead overheated, starting a house fire in Hamstreet, near Ashford last night (Tuesday, 7 November).

The blaze was discovered by a neighbour just before 8pm who heard the smoke alarms sounding and went into the house. The occupant was not home at the time so the neighbour attempted to put the fire out, taking in smoke in the process.

Three fire engines were sent to the end-of-terrace property and arrived to find smoke billowing from the rear of the house. They gave the neighbour oxygen therapy before handing him into the care of an-off duty paramedic for precautionary checks.

Ashford Watch Manager, Kevin Surridge said: “A breathing apparatus team found a coiled up extension reel that was run to a tumble drier in a first-floor rear bedroom, had sparked the blaze.”

Firefighters made sure the fire was completely out and cleared smoke and fumes from the property using a special fan.

Kevin added: “As the weather cools down, we start to use more electrical appliances around our homes, but my advice would be to only use them when you are there, never leave them running while you’re asleep or away from your home.”

With Christmas next month, homeowners will soon be thinking about decorating their homes with lights and are asked to please keep safety in mind – don’t overload sockets, use circuit breakers and make sure extension leads are fully unwound to prevent overheating.

Kevin ended: “Just because there might be space to plug in four appliances on an extension lead, it doesn’t mean it’s always safe to do so. Make sure your home and family are safe from the devastating effects of fire this winter by having working smoke alarms and testing them regularly.”

The fire damage was limited to the room of origin, but caused extensive heat and smoke damage to the first floor.

If you have any concerns about keeping yourself or a friend or relative safe, get in touch with Kent Fire and Rescue Service by email or phone.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 8 November 2017
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/november-2017/extension-lead-sparks-fire-in-hamstreet-home/

Electrical Safety First Advice regarding extension leads and heaters

Extensions and cables

The more wall sockets you have in your home the less you will need an extension cable or adapter. However, many portable electrical items like lamps and radios are supplied with relatively short cables. So sometimes it is unavoidable not to have to use one, but beware of the following dangers.

  • Damaged cable, due to leads being walked over, continually bent at the same point or stored badly.
  • You can trip or fall over taut, over-stretched cable.
  • Leads on power tools frequently become tangled, leading to one of the conductors eventually failing – this could cause danger.
  • Overuse of multi-way adapters or adapter blocks, which increases the risk of fire

An extension lead should only be used when it is not possible to reach a wall socket with the equipment cable. When the use of an extension cable is unavoidable – follow these simple suggestions:

  • Only use an extension lead which was bought ready-assembled.
  • We recommend that no extension lead be more than 15 metres long.
  • Only use extension leads fitted with suitably insulated connectors and plugs. (Never join two lengths of flexible cable by twisting the bare ends of wires together.)
  • Position an extension lead carefully to prevent any risk of damage.
  • If the cable has to cross a pathway, cover it with a rubber protector strip.
  • Always check that leads, plugs and sockets are undamaged.
  • Always check the extension lead plug contains the correctly rated fuse for the equipment being used.
  • If using a cable drum extension lead, it should be completely unwound to avoid overheating.
  • For general use, 2-core extension leads should not be used.

www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/guides-and-advice/around-the-home/extensions-and-leads/

Electric heaters

  • Never leave portable heaters unattended
  • Never leave them on whilst sleeping
  • Ensure that they are positioned well away from anything which could knock them over
  • Ensure they are at least a metre away from any combustible materials, such as paper or curtains
  • Never buy second hand halogen heaters
  • Never power a halogen heater from an extension lead – these can easily be overloaded and cause fires
  • Regularly inspect your heater for damage. If it’s damaged, don’t use it

www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2014/11/playing-with-fire-consumers-are-risking-lives-by-using-portable-heaters-incorrectly/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoSafety and Wellbeing Plan 2018

Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

Opens: 23 October 2017
Closes: 14 January 2018

The Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (KMFRA) has published its Safety and Wellbeing Plan for 2018 and is consulting the public on the plan and Council Tax for 2018/19.

The plan outlines the work of Kent Fire and Rescue Service and what it aims to achieve over the coming year.  Prevention remains a top priority for the Service.  This includes continuing to provide fire safety and other advice, such as how to stay warm in the winter, to the most vulnerable in the county such as frail elderly people and those with disabilities.  We are also looking to provide extra support to those living in sheltered accommodation through advice to the elderly residents and those managing the buildings.

Alongside the plan KMFRA is consulting on the level of Council Tax for next year.  As a result of a planned approach the Authority has managed to make the necessary savings, whilst still maintaining good emergency cover across the county, investment in frontline services and new technology to help crews fight fires more effectively.

The 2018/19 Council Tax options being consulted on are:

  • Option one – a 0% increase
  • Option two – an increase of just under 2% for a Band D household – that is an increase of less than 3p a week per household.  This option would allow the Authority to continue with its plan to deliver an efficient and effective service to local people whilst being able to make planned efficiency savings in a way that would have least impact on service delivery
  • Option three – an increase of over 2%, if there is flexibility to do so within the referendum limit (the Government has not yet confirmed if it will limit the amount by which local authorities can increase Council Tax without a costly referendum – last year it was 2%).  Each 1% increase amounts to around 1p a week for a band D household.

Main document

Title
application/pdf Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018.pdf (910KB)

Consultation survey

Supporting information

Title
application/pdf Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018 – Review of Impacts of 2nd pump moves.pdf (1.62MB)
application/pdf Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018 – Risk Profile Update 2017.pdf (7.42MB)
application/pdf Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018 – Review of Impacts of Emergency Medical Response.pdf (534KB)
application/pdf Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2016/18 – Ashford Risk Profile (5.97MB)
application/pdf Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2016/18 – Ashford Operational Activity Analysis (3.74MB)

Take part in our consultation

Give us your views on the Authority’s Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018 and the Council Tax consultation for 2018/19.

Please complete the survey, which includes the text of the Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018, before 9am on 15 January 2018.

You can also download a copy of the Safety and Wellbeing Plan 2018 and all the supporting documentation using the links on the right-hand side of this page.

The outcomes of the consultation will be reported to the meeting of Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority to be held on 13 February 2018.

If you have any questions about the Safety and Wellbeing Plan or would like a paper copy of the report documents or survey sent to you, please:

Safety and Wellbeing Plan
Kent Fire and Rescue Service
FREEPOST NAT 9369
Maidstone
ME15 6BR

Addendums

As part of the consultation process, we have committed to correcting information which is highlighted to us as not being clear, or is incorrect.

Burnt to a crisp

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoKent Fire and Rescue Service responded to reports of a kitchen fire in Ashford at 9.30am this morning, .

Two fire engines rushed to the first floor maisonette in Brookfield Road and found that the cooker had inadvertently been switched on, setting light to a multipack box of crisps that had been left on the hob.

Ashford Watch Manager, Kevin Surridge said: “The household left their home but the man and woman went back inside after borrowing a fire extinguisher from a neighbour. They were given oxygen as the scene before being handed into the care of South East Coast Ambulance Service.”

Two firefighters in breathing apparatus used a hose reel to damp down the small fire and a special fan to clear the smoke.

Kevin added: “This incident highlights the need to take extra care in the kitchen, please don’t use your cooker as an extra storage space. If you have an electric hob it’s worth switching it off at the power socket when not in use, especially if you have young children or pets in the house who might knock the switch on accidentally.”

The small fire caused minor smoke damage throughout the maisonette and fire crews left the property just before 11am.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 18 October 2017
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/october-2017/burnt-to-a-crisp/

Witness appeal after distraction burglary in Brookfield area

Kent Police is investigating a report of a distraction burglary in Ashford in which money was stolen from an elderly woman’s purse.

The offender called on the woman at her home in the Brookfield Road area on the evening of Monday 2 October 2017.

Detective Sergeant Carl Evans said: ‘The man claimed there was a problem with the water supply and asked the elderly occupant to go upstairs to check a radiator.

‘After he’d gone she realised money had been stolen from her purse.’

The man is described as white, clean-shaven, in his 50s and about 5ft 2in tall. He was wearing a dark coat, dark trousers and a black cap.
Stay vigilant

Detective Sergeant Evans urged people to be vigilant and to look out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours and relatives.

He said: ‘Although unharmed, the victim was understandably shaken by this incident. But there are ways people can protect themselves.’

This includes:

  • Ensuring rear doors and windows are shut and locked when answering your front door
  • Considering fitting extra security measures such as spy holes, door chains, door locks and intruder alarms
  • Always checking the ID of cold callers – a door chain or spy hole will help you do this without letting anyone into your home. Don’t be afraid to turn people away

Detective Sergeant Evans would like to hear from anyone who saw a man matching the above description or anyone acting suspiciously in the Brookfield Road area on Monday evening.

‘We would also like to hear from anyone with information about the offender,’ he said.

Please phone Kent Police on 01843 222289 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 quoting reference number 02-1473.

Kent Police 03 October 2017
www.kent.police.uk/news/appeals-(witnesses-and-missing-people)/1017/witness-appeal-after-distraction-burglary-in-ashfo/

Gas: Top tips to stay safe

Gas Safety Week has ended but remember these six simple steps to help keep you safe and warm in your home:

  1. Only use a Gas Safe registered engineer to fit, fix and service your appliances.
    You can find and check an engineer at GasSafeRegister.co.uk (check out our graphic below) or call 0800 408 5500.
  2. Check both sides of your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. Make sure they are qualified for the work you need doing. You can find this information on the back of the card.
  3. Have all your gas appliances regularly serviced and safety checked every year.
    If you rent your home ask for a copy of the landlord’s current Gas Safety Record.
  4. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.
  5. Know the six signs of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning – headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. Unsafe gas appliances can put you at risk of CO poisoning, gas leaks, fires and explosions.
  6. Check gas appliances for warning signs that they are not working properly e.g. lazy yellow flames instead of crisp blue ones, black marks or stains on or around the appliance and too much condensation in the room.

How to find a Gas Safe registered engineer

  1. Go to gassaferegister.co.uk
  2. Select Find an Engineer from the menu at the top
    Enter your postcode
  3. Check the business has an engineer qualified to work on your appliance
  4. Call 3 or 4 businesses to get the best price and check availability

To find this information in future go to Local Information > Safety and Security > Gas Safety

Seek professional advice around pest control

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoKent Fire and Rescue Service was called to a family home in Bowens Field, Ashford where one of the occupants had tried to remove a wasps nest by burning it. The wasp nest was in ivy growing close to the house – however the burning got out of control and set fire to the ivy before spreading to the roof of the property. KFRS was called and when crews arrived they found all occupants of the property safely outside. They used a hose reel jet to extinguish the small fire and checked for hot spots with a thermal imaging camera. The fire caused a small amount of damage to the ivy growth and the soffit and facia of the roof of the property. The cause was accidental. There were no reported injuries.

Firefighters have urged property owners to always seek professional advice around pest control and to never attempt to burn anything or use naked flames close to their property.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 23 September 2017
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/incidents/?entryid2=13848

Ashford Borough Council advice regarding pest control can be found on their website at www.ashford.gov.uk/the-environment/pest-control/