Safety

KMFRA Survey and Council Tax consultation

Safety and wellbeing plan update 2018

Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority

Chairman’s introduction

Chairman KMFRAThis year we wanted to take the opportunity to give local people an update on the work we do and the range of services we provide. Please take a few minutes to read the information below, or look at the infographic on this page (use the Zoom link to see a much larger version) and fill this short survey and consultation* about next year’s Council Tax.

As customers and taxpayers, we always aim to provide you with value for money and the best service we can. Though thankfully I know that many of you have never needed to call on us in a crisis, I hope you are reassured that we will always be there when you need us.

Like everyone in the public sector, finances are tight, but we have managed to make significant savings of around £26m since 2010, much of which has been re-invested in our frontline service. We also work closely with police, ambulance, Kent County Council, Medway Council and others to share expertise and resources and deliver efficient services to keep the public safe.

The Home Office inspection team will be here in the New Year and we expect to hear the outcome of that in 2019. If you want to read more about our work and plans please have a look at our Customer and corporate plan and you can also sign up to email alerts about incidents in your area or to get safety advice.

Nick Chard
Chairman – Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (more…)

Stay safe in your home

It’s Gas Safety Week! Find out how to stay safe in your home with these top tips:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. This will alert you if there is carbon monoxide in your home.

Dirty chimneys cause fires – keep it swept

As the weather starts to cool down, you might be thinking of lighting your open fire, wood  burning stove or other ‘real flame’ appliance and using your chimney again.  An open fire or stove can be a focal point in your home but if they’re not properly maintained and regularly cleaned they can dramatically increase your risk of having a fire.

Dirty chimneys cause fires – keep it swept

  • Have your chimney and flue inspected and swept at least once a year for coal and twice if you are burning logs.
  • A clean chimney can help prevent fires and structural damage to your property.
  • Regular cleaning of your chimney or flues will eliminate the build up of soot and clear obstructions such as loose bricks, bird or animal nests, leaves and debris.
  • Avoid overloading the grate or build fires too high.
  • Dispose of ash safely and appropriately.
  • Be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Things you can do:

    • Check for moss or grass growing out of your chimney – it’s a sign it needs repair and if you had a chimney fire, could lead to smoke spread in your property.
    • Does your chimney lean to one side? Or is the top of it missing? Some damage may not be noticeable because it is located inside the chimney. However that damage could allow a chimney fire to spread into the roof or other parts of your home
    • If there are missing or cracked mortar joints or bricks, this is a sign your chimney needs repair. Look out for crumbling mortar falling onto your fireplace or stove.
  • Only burn suitable fuels and don’t overload the grate.
  • Always use a fire guard and if you have pets or young children consider using a safety guard.
  • Make sure that the fire is out before going to bed at night or leaving the house.
  • Do not dry or air clothes on a fireguard or close to the fire.
  • Regularly check for smoke from defective brickwork in the loft when the fire is alight and avoid storing items too close to the chimney stack.
  • Make sure no sparks or fumes can escape through cracks or broken bricks.
  • Never interrupt the air supply by blocking air vents or air bricks.
  • Avoid too much clutter being stored in your loft as this will make it much easier for a chimney fire to spread.
  • Have working smoke alarms fitted on every floor of your home and test them regularly.

(more…)

Various frozen vegetable products recalled

Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd has taken the precautionary step of voluntarily recalling various frozen vegetable products, sold under a number of brands, because they might contain Listeria monocytogenes.

Product details

 

Brand / Product Pack size Batch code Best before

Aldi

Aldi Four Seasons Frozen Vegetable Steamers All All All codes to Jan 2020
Aldi Frozen Four Seasons Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020
Aldi Four Seasons Supersweet Sweetcorn All All All codes to Jan 2020

Growers Pride

Growers Pride Mixed Vegetables 12x450g All July 2021
Growers Pride Mixed Vegetables 12x750g All July 2020
Growers Pride Supersweet Sweetcorn 12x450g All July 2021
Growers Pride Supersweet Sweetcorn 12x750g All July 2020

Iceland

Iceland Frozen Mixed Vegetables 900g All All codes to 22 June 2020

Independent

Independent Mix Vegetables All All July 2019

Lidl

Lidl Frozen Freshona Vegetable Mix All All All codes to July 2020
Lidl Frozen Green Grocer Supersweet Corn All All All codes to Jan 2020

One Stop

One Stop Frozen Sweetcorn All All All codes to Jan 2020

Pinguin

Pinguin Frozen Cut Beans All NA July 2020
Pinguin Frozen Mixed Vegetables 1×10 kg All July 2020
Pinguin Frozen Sweetcorn All All July 2020
Pinguin frozen Golden Rice and Vegetables All All July 2020
Pinguin Mixed Vegetable All All July 2020
Pinguin Supersweet Corn 1×10 kg All July 2020
Pinguin Supersweet Sweetcorn All All July 2020
Pinguin Sweetcorn 1×10 kg All July 2020

Ross

Ross Mixed Country Vegetables 10x1kg All July 2020
Ross Mixed Vegetables 10x1kg All July 2020
Ross Mixed Vegetables 12x450g All July 2021
Ross Sweetcorn 12x450g All July 2021
Ross Sweetcorn 10x1kg All July 2020

Sainsbury

Sainsbury Frozen Basic Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020
Sainsbury Frozen Carrot Broccoli and Sweetcorn All All All codes to Jan 2020
Sainsbury Frozen Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020
Sainsbury Frozen Rice Broccoli and Sweetcorn All All All codes to Jan 2020
Sainsbury Frozen Special Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020

Tesco

Tesco Broccoli Frozen Sweetcorn Peas and Spinach Steamer All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Frozen Broccoli, Carrot and Sweetcorn Steamer All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Frozen Every Day Value Sweetcorn All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Frozen Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco frozen Mixed Vegetables and Peppers All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Frozen Sweetcorn All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Frozen Growers Harvest Carrot Peas and Sweetcorn Steamer All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Frozen Growers Harvest Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020
Tesco Growers Harvest Frozen Mixed Vegetables All All All codes to Jan 2020

Waitrose

Waitrose Essential Mixed Vegetable E1kg All All up to Dec 2019
Waitrose Essential Supersweet Sweetcorn E1kg All Oct 2019 Nov 2019 Aug 2019
Waitrose Fine Cut Vegetable Steamer E640g (4x160ge) All All up to Jan 2020
Waitrose Love Life Vegetable Medley Steamers E640g (4x160ge) P6163 P7021 P7080 May 2018 Jul 2018 Sep 2018

 

No other Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd products are known to be affected.

Risk statement

The products listed above might be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Symptoms caused by this organism can be similar to flu and include high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.

Some people are more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old and people with weakened immune systems.

Action taken by the company

Greenyard Frozen UK Ltd are recalling the above products. Point of sale notices will be displayed in all retail stores that are selling these products. These notices explain to customers why the products are being recalled and tell them what to do if they have bought any of the products listed above.

Advice to consumers

If you have bought any of the above products do not eat them. Instead, return the product to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.

Food Standards Agency  5 July 2018
https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/alert/fsa-prin-35-2018

At Risk of Going Missing

Helping emergency services find missing vulnerable people FAST

A potentially life-saving form could help police and search teams find vulnerable missing people quicker.

The ‘At Risk of Going Missing’ form provides quick, detailed information about a person’s background and history to help police to identify priority areas to search, often speeding up the time taken to find them, particularly if the person is living with dementia.

In support of Dementia Action Week which runs from 21 to 27 May, Kent Search and Rescue (KSAR), in collaboration with Kent Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service (KFRS), and the National Police Air Service, have produced a video that shows how a completed form can help partners work together to quickly find a missing person when they have detailed information about a person’s habits and interests.

Every year, Kent Police receives approximately 10,000 missing person reports and an increasing number of these are for people living with dementia.

The form, which is handed out by all agencies, allows police, Kent Search and Rescue and Kent Fire and Rescue Service to gather as much useful information as possible. It gives an indication of someone’s mobility, preferred mode of travelling, routes frequented, general health issues and significant places they are likely to gravitate towards. This form enables all this information to be documented in advance.

Completed forms are kept in a safe place by families or carers so they can be found quickly if the person is reported missing. They are also stored on police systems, meaning officers have easy access to the information when needed most.

Phil Morris, Community officer at Kent Search and Rescue said: “We have produced this video message in support of Dementia Action Week in the hope that it will help people understand how important a completed “At Risk” form can be and, in doing do so, encourage more families to fill in the form if they are caring for someone who is living with dementia, or who may go missing for another reason.

Please don’t wait until the person goes missing. Download the form from the Kent Police, KSAR or KFRS website(s) and fill it in today! The information that you record in the form may give us the one important clue that we need to help find your missing loved-one…when every second counts.”

Assistant Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “Our aim is to make sure that if people living with dementia become lost or go missing that we can do our best to return them home as quickly as possible so they don’t come to any harm.

“By filling in this form officers can gather as much information as possible, as quickly as possible so would encourage anyone who lives with someone with dementia to fill in the form.  It could save a life.”

Chris Colgan, Assistant Director Response & Training at Kent Fire and Rescue Service, and a member of the KSAR board of trustees, said: “Keeping safe is important for us all, however it can become difficult to maintain safety if you or someone you know is living with dementia, particularly if living alone. This form is a really useful tool, and can help us and partner agencies to find a missing person with dementia more quickly, reducing the chance of someone getting into harm’s way, and even saving a life.”

Watch the ‘At Risk of Going Missing Video’ https://vimeo.com/268997659

Kent Fire and Rescue Service   21 May 2018
(Issued jointly with Kent Police, Kent Search and Rescue and National Police Air Service)
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/may-2018/helping-emergency-services-find-missing-vulnerable-people-fast/

Bonfire spreads to bungalow

Ashford firefighters are warning residents about the risks of leaving bonfires unattended, following a callout to Ashford where a fire spread to a house.

Crews were called to reports of a fence alight in a garden Arcon Road. When they arrived they discovered that an unattended bonfire has spread to a garden gate, as well as the PVC window frames and guttering of a semi-detached bungalow.

Crews used a hose reel to contain the fire and prevent it spreading to the roof of the building, and drag rakes to expose hotspots in a heap of burning rubbish.

Ashford watch manager Mark Scott said: “Crews managed to bring this fire under control and minimise the damage to the house, but a few minutes more and we would have been facing a much larger incident.

“Our advice would be to find other, more environmentally friendly, ways of disposing of rubbish, such as taking it to your local recycling centre. If you do have a bonfire, make sure it is built well away from fences, buildings, trees and garden sheds, that it’s kept to a manageable size and that it’s not left unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with water.”

There were no reported injuries.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service  20 March 2018
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/incidents/?entryid2=15482

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
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/february-2018/lucky-escape-for-woman-who-entered-frozen-lake-to-save-dogs/

Defibrillators

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
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/february-2018/quick-thinking-mum-saves-son-from-toxic-battery-smoke/

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
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/17/kcc-budget-strategy-201819/

KMFRA Safety and Wellbeing Plan and Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/10/24/kmfra-safety-and-wellbeing-plan-and-budget-consultation/

ABC Budget Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2017/12/30/abc-budget-consultation-2/

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Consultation
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/01/10/pcc-proposes-12-rise-to-boost-police-frontline/