A new study by Kent County Council’s Road Safety Team has found that a third of drivers in the county use their mobile phones while driving, including texting or accessing social networks, despite knowing it is dangerous and illegal.

2015 research has found that:

  • 59% of drivers admitted that mobile phones were a distraction to drivers
  • 33% of those aged under 35 admitted to using their phone whilst driving to text or access apps
  • 21% of all drivers admitted to using their phone whilst driving to text or access apps
  • 37% of those aged under 35 admitted to taking a hand-held call whilst driving
  • 27% of all drivers admitted to taking a hand-held call whilst driving

With research indicating that some individuals find it acceptable to use their mobile phone and drive, this campaign seeks to remind drivers that using phones, either hand-held or hands free whilst driving, places them and other road users in unnecessary and avoidable danger.

No matter what information you’re getting from your phone, nothing is worth risking your own life and the lives of those around you. It really can wait.

Kent County Council

Make the right call

There are times where it would be unthinkable for you to use your mobile phone – such as playing football, or getting married – so why do it while driving?

KCC – Make The Right Call from Kent Road Safety on Vimeo.

Despite legislation, recent figures have shown that over a third of individuals admitted to using their mobile phones whilst driving to text or access apps. This is troubling statistic considering that when using a mobile device, your ability to react quickly in an emergency is likely to be worse than that of a driver at the drink-drive limit.

Crashes caused by mobile phone use are completely avoidable – so make the right call, don’t use your phone and drive.

Kent County Council

Acting on product safety

If there is a problem with the safety of a product, its manufacturer is responsible for making arrangements for its repair, replacement or refund for the owner. This includes contacting the person who has purchased it where possible, and publishing a notice drawing attention to the risk the product poses and what the manufacturer is doing to remedy the issue.

Grenfell Tower fire update

A Hotpoint fridge freezer has been identified as the initial source of the Grenfell Tower fire. At this stage, the manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation has not issued a product recall. Consumers who believe they may own a Hotpoint fridge freezer model number FF175BP (white) or FF175BG (grey) should call Whirlpool’s freephone hotline on 0800 316 3826 or visit the Hotpoint Service website to register your details for further updates.


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Electrical safety outdoors

Long summer days mean sunbathing, sizzling barbeques and pottering in the garden. Although electricity makes gardening much easier, wet conditions and contact with the ground means that the risk of injury or death from electric shock is much greater than the risk from using electrical equipment indoors. Read Electrical Safety First’s tips to ensure that the only thing sizzling this summer will be the sausages!

Although electricity makes gardening much easier, wet conditions and contact with the ground means that the risk of injury or death from electric shock is much greater than the risk from using electrical equipment indoors.

Electricity and water don’t mix, so whether it’s pouring from the heavens or there’s still dew on the ground, don’t use electrical equipment outdoors until it is dry.

By following simple safety rules every time you work in the garden, you can easily avoid a serious accident. (more…)

Warm weather fire risks

Enjoy the warmer weather but be aware of fire risks

If you are out and about enjoying the warmer weather over the Bank Holiday weekend, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) asks that you keep safety in mind.

Whether you are going camping, having a barbecue with friends and family or just out and about enjoying the great outdoors, please be mindful of how quickly a fire can start.

Smouldering cigarette butts thrown from car windows or dropped onto grass verges are a common cause of grass and heath fires. The sun’s rays magnified through broken glass or even the heat from a vehicle parked in the long grass of a make-shift field car park can spark a blaze.

Nearly 40 per cent of all the fires KFRS attended were outdoor fires including woodland, grassland, crops, etc. Sixty per cent of these (around 1000 fires) were believed to have been started deliberately and 45 per cent of these by youths (10-17 year olds).

KFRS Area Manager, Mark Rist explains: “Every year, outdoor fires destroy acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Whether started accidentally or deliberately these types of fires spread much quicker than expected, particularly when vegetation is dry. They cause a great deal of damage and also tie up valuable firefighting resources which could be saving lives elsewhere.

“A number of outdoor fires are started deliberately, often by children and young people who think its harmless fun but what may have been intended to be just a small fire, can quickly spread out of control. Starting fires on purpose is dangerous and a waste of time and money. With half term approaching, we’re asking parents to talk to their children to make sure they understand they could be putting lives at risk, including their own.”

  • Tell-tale signs that your child could be starting fires include:
  • Do their clothes smell of smoke?
  • Are they using or carrying matches and lighters for no particular reason?

If you are concerned in anyway contact the KFRS’ Firesetters team on 01622 692121 or email for advice on how to deal with the problem.

Mark ended: “We would like local people to help us by reporting suspicious behaviour to CRIMESTOPPERS anonymously on 0800 555 111 or the Police on 101. If you spot a fire, please help us by reporting it immediately, rather than presuming someone else has already made the call. Give as much information as you can including location and nearby landmarks to help our crews respond quicker and to minimise the amount of damage that these devastating fires can cause.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 26 May 2017

”Cool your coals” advice from firefighters

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire involving a garden shed in Westbrook Avenue, Margate at 2.48am. Two fire engines were sent to the property and arrived to find the shed fully involved in fire.

Firefighters wore breathing apparatus and used two hose reels to extinguish the blaze, which destroyed the shed and its contents, including children’s garden toys. A thermal scan of the property and surrounding properties was also carried out to check for hot spots.

The blaze is thought to have been started, after the occupant put what he thought were cold barbecue coals into a plastic bag. He left the bag close to the garden shed, which caught alight as the coals continued smouldering.

Margate Watch Manager, Gary Miller, said: “Unfortunately, coals and ashes that seem cold on the surface may still be hot deep inside. Have a look at our website for more safety tips to help keep your home and family safe around
barbecues and

“We’re all hoping that summer and some warmer weather will be with us soon, so we can enjoy barbecues in the garden, but please make sure safety is a key ingredient. Always dispose of ashes and coals carefully. Douse them with water, put them into a metal container and once cool, empty them onto bare soil, not into a plastic bin.”

The fire also caused superficial damage to plastic fascia board on a double garage and wooden fence panels at a neighbouring property.

Gary ended: “Fortunately, we arrived just in time to prevent further fire spread to a timber framed double garage which is under construction.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 07 May 2017

Make sure they can get through

Would a fire engine be able to drive down your road in an emergency?

Kent’s firefighters are urging people to think before they park and consider whether a fire engine would be able to get to your home in an emergency?

Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) 999 control room received a number of calls to reports of a large shed fire in Shakespeare Road, Dartford at 6.52am this morning (Friday). Two fire engines were on the scene within minutes but had difficulty accessing the road due to inconsiderate parking in the area.

Crew manager, Neil Jones said: “We know sometimes space can be limited but please try and leave enough room for us and other emergency services to get past. In some of the narrower side streets we find vehicles are parked on junctions, making it impossible for our fire engines to turn.

“Fire engines are wide and need more space than you might think. Parking on a junction or a bend may stop us getting to where we’re needed at a time when every second counts and we struggle to drive down certain roads if vehicles are not parked appropriately. Please park close to the curb and straighten the wheels of your vehicle, it can make a big difference.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 21 April 2017

Need urgent help?

Check the helplines listed on our Useful links page

National Domestic Violence Helpline Tel: 0808 2000 247
Women’s Aid
provides services to women and children experiencing domestic violence.
offers a range of services which gives women and children access to professional support whatever their situation.

Samaritans Tel:116 123. or
visit the local branch
offers confidential and emotional support for those who are experiencing despair.

Saneline  0300 304 7000 from 4:30pm – 10:30pm every evening
offers information and support for those with mental health issues.

Release the Pressure
Tel: 0800 107 0160
Chat online
A KCC funded service provided by an independent charity, offers advice and help for those suffering from stress

FRANK Tel: 0300 123 6600,
Need a quick answer? Text a question and FRANK will text you back Text 82111 or
Chat online 2pm – 6pm every day
helps people with drug problems.

Drinkline Tel: 0300 123 1110
free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s.

Shelter Tel: 0808 800 4444
offers housing advice.

Runaway  Tel or Text 116 000,
Chat online using link above, or
advises young people aged 17 if they are thinking about running away, if they have already run away, or if they have been away and come back and those that are worried that someone else is going to run away or if they are being treated badly or abused.

Childline Tel: 0800 1111,
Chat online:, or
helps children or young people in distress. Tel: 0800 1111

Silverline Tel: 0800 470 8090
provides information, friendship and advice for older folk.

How safe will your family be over the spring holidays?

As the weather warms up and we begin to spend more time outside, it’s important to
remember to keep the family safe – protecting those we love the most.

Take the time to think about safety and the risks involved in all activities.

Just a simple reminder about safety can make the difference between family time full of great memories instead of memories you’d rather forget. A few small changes can ensure we all have fun in the sun without putting our loved ones at risk.

Learn with the Byrnes – to keep your family safe


Woodland fires prompt appeal from firefighters

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoKent Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to be extra careful not to start fires in woodlands and vegetation after several large incidents that damaged the countryside, and tied up firefighting resources yesterday (29 March).

Incidents included a large fire in woodland in West Blean last night that destroyed two hectares of shrubs, bushes and trees. Four fire engines and an all-terrain vehicle were required and crews spent over two and a half hours battling a multi-seated fire using a cold-cutting firefighting system and flexi packs.

Earlier in the day, three fire engines and an all-terrain vehicle were sent to fire in a large area of cleared woodland in Bekesbourne. Crews spent over two hours putting out the blaze and preventing further fire spread. Elsewhere, crews tackled a blaze in trees and shrubs in woodland near Lordswood, and a log store and conifer trees alight in Selling. (more…)