Safety

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 firesetters@kent.fire-uk.org 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
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/may-2017/enjoy-the-warmer-weather-but-be-aware-of-fire-risks/

”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 www.kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/home-safety/what-are-the-risks/barbecues/ and
bonfires www.kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/home-safety/what-are-the-risks/bonfires-and-fireworks/

“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
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/may-2017/cool-your-coals-advice-from-firefighters/

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
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/april-2017/would-a-fire-engine-be-able-to-drive-down-your-road-in-an-emergency/

Need urgent help?

Check the helplines listed on our Useful links page

National Domestic Violence Helpline Tel: 0808 2000 247
Women’s Aid www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/helpline/
provides services to women and children experiencing domestic violence.
Refuge www.refuge.org.uk/get-help-now/
offers a range of services which gives women and children access to professional support whatever their situation.

Samaritans www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us Tel:116 123. or
visit the local branch www.samaritans.org/branches/samaritans-ashford-and-tenterden
offers confidential and emotional support for those who are experiencing despair.

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

Release the Pressure www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/release-the-pressure
Tel: 0800 107 0160
Chat online www.mentalhealthmatters.com/our-services/helpline-services/time-online/
A KCC funded service provided by an independent charity, offers advice and help for those suffering from stress

FRANK www.talktofrank.com/contact-frank Tel: 0300 123 6600,
Need a quick answer? Text a question and FRANK will text you back Text 82111 or
Chat online www.talktofrank.com/livechat 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 http://england.shelter.org.uk/contact_us Tel: 0808 800 4444
offers housing advice.

Runaway www.runawayhelpline.org.uk/advice/  Tel or Text 116 000,
Chat online using link above, or
email: 116000@runawayhelpline.org.uk
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 www.childline.org.uk/get-support/ Tel: 0800 1111,
Chat online: www.childline.org.uk/get-support/1-2-1-counsellor-chat/, or
Email: www.childline.org.uk/locker/inbox/
helps children or young people in distress. Tel: 0800 1111

Silverline www.thesilverline.org.uk/ 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

(more…)

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…)

Using a dummy

Safer Sleep WeekSome research suggests that it is possible that using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep could reduce the risk of sudden infant death.

  • If you choose to use a dummy, wait until breastfeeding is well established (at up to about 4 weeks old).
  • Stop giving a dummy to your baby to go to sleep between 6 and 12 months.
  • Don’t force your baby to take a dummy or put it back in if your baby spits it out. Don’t use a neck cord.
  • Don’t put anything sweet on the dummy, and don’t offer during awake time.
  • Using an orthodontic dummy is best as it adapts to your baby’s mouth shape.
  • If you choose to use a dummy make sure it is part of your baby’s regular sleep routine.

Download

Lullaby Trust factsheet on the use of dummies
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/file/Fact-Sheet-Dummies.pdf

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/dummies

 

A clear cot is a safer cot

Safer Sleep WeekBabies need just a few basic items for sleep: a firm flat surface and some bedding. New parents now have a massive range of baby products to choose from and it can be really confusing to know what is needed. Our advice is simple: the safest cot is a clear cot.

There is evidence to suggest that babies are at higher risk of SIDS if they have their heads covered and some items added to a cot may increase the risk of head-covering. Unnecessary items in a baby’s cot can also increase the risk of accidents. Make sure that any product you use meets the relevant British safety standard. Whilst evidence on individual items is not widely available, it makes sense to be as cautious as possible. We therefore recommend babies are slept in cots that are kept as clear as possible and specifically advise:

  • No pillows or duvets;
  • No cot bumpers;
  • No soft toys;
  • No loose bedding;
  • No products to keep a baby in one sleeping position such as wedges or straps.

We cannot comment on individual products, but would advise parents to read the safety advice when making choices. Sadly there is no product that can reduce the chance of SIDS and we would advise parents to be cautious about any product that makes such a claim.

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/clear-cot

Mattresses and bedding

Safer Sleep WeekThe safest place for your baby to sleep is on their own sleep surface, in the same room as you, for at least the first six months. A Moses basket or cot is a safe place for a baby to sleep.

You should use a firm and flat mattress that is protected by a waterproof cover. This will help keep the mattress clean and dry, as the cover can be wiped down.  Make sure your baby’s mattress is in good condition and that it fits the Moses basket or cot properly.

It can be common to use a second-hand mattress either from friends and family, or from your previous children. There is some research that found an increased chance of SIDS when using a second-hand mattress although the link is not yet proven. To help reduce this risk, if you are using a second-hand mattress make sure the mattress you choose was previously completely protected by a waterproof cover, and then use one for your baby as well. The mattress should also still be firm and flat to keep your baby sleeping safely.

Firmly tucked in sheets and blankets (not above shoulder height) or a baby sleeping bag are safe for a baby to sleep in. Be sure to remove any soft toys from the cot before each sleep period. Sleep your baby in the feet-to-foot position and avoid using soft or bulky bedding such as quilts, pillows and duvets.

Pillow use alone has been shown to increase the chance of SIDS occurring by up to 2.5 times, so it may be helpful to talk to one of our helpline advisers if you were thinking of using one with your baby due to concerns for plagiocephaly (or ‘flat head syndrome’). There are techniques you can use that could help plagiocephaly which will not increase the risk of SIDS.

Cot bumpers

Cot bumpers can pose the risk of an accident to your baby once they begin to roll and move about the cot. There have been a number of cases in the UK and abroad where infants have become entangled in the ties and material, or fallen from pulling themselves up on the bumpers. A simple mattress in your cot with no loose bedding or bumpers is the safest sleeping place for a baby.

Download

The Lullaby Trust factsheet on mattresses and bedding
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/file/—–internal-documents/Fact-Sheet-Mattresses-bedding-and-cots.pdf

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/mattresses-and-bedding

Breastfeeding

Safer Sleep WeekAny breastfeeding, even for a few days, is better than none, but most authorities including the Department of Health now recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least six months. The Department also recommends that that breastfeeding is continued, with the addition of appropriate weaning foods, for as long as the mother and baby want.

Breastfed babies have a lower chance of SIDS

As long ago as 1965 it was shown that babies under 3 months who died of SIDS were less likely to be breastfed than infants who did not die. Since then, numerous studies have supported the protective effects of breastfeeding, with one overview report concluding that breastfeeding reduces the incidence of SIDS by approximately half.

Even a brief period of breastfeeding can be protective for your baby. It has been shown that both partial and exclusive breastfeeding have been associated with a lower SIDS rate, but that exclusive breastfeeding was associated with the lowest risk.

Download:

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/breastfeeding