Please leave space for engines

Ashford firefighters are reminding people to ensure there is space to allow fire engines through.

This follows an emergency call to Cudworth Road, Ashford after a summer house caught alight during the early hours of this morning (Thursday, 21 September).

Firefighters were called at 3.52am and a fire engine raced to the scene but struggled to get down part of Cudworth Road, due to insufficient space between vehicles parked either side.

Ashford Crew Manager, Andy Harris explained what happened: “We had to keep sounding the siren to alert residents and, fortunately we still managed to reach the house within eight minutes. But in an emergency, every second counts and a delay preventing our crews from reaching someone in danger could make all the difference.”

Once at the property, fire crews used a hose reel to extinguish the blaze, which severely damaged a summer house in the back garden. Firefighters left the scene around 5am.

Andy added: “We appreciate that parking can be tight and that people like to park as close as possible to their homes, but a fire engine needs a gap of at least 3.1m (10ft) to get through – please keep that in mind when you’re parking. It could be your house we’re trying to reach.”

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 21 September 2017

KFRS: High-rise update

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoFollowing the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) began a programme of visits, to provide reassurance to residents living in high rise properties in Kent and Medway.

KFRS has already completed visits to all of the residential buildings of ten floors or above to carry out routine fire safety inspections and review firefighting plans for each building. We will have completed visits to residential blocks of six floors and above by mid-August. Each visit has been conducted by members of KFRS operational crews, alongside specialists from the community and business safety teams.

KFRS staff have also been offering reassurance to residents in the flats and encouraging them to make sure that they are familiar with fire safety procedures and evacuation plans for their own building. Our community safety team have also been on hand to carry out home safety checks of people’s own homes, as an extra reassurance and have handed out leaflets with safety advice, including in other languages.

In the next phase KFRS will continue this work with non-residential high rise premises such as offices, hotels and other commercial buildings.

There is a national process of testing cladding on high-rise properties commissioned by the DCLG (Department of Communities and Local Government). Should there be an issue, the local authority or building owner will be notified and local fire and rescue services will also be asked to do a safety visit. So far (4.8.17) KFRS has received no notification that any of the high-rise buildings in Kent and Medway are among those identified with concerns about the cladding.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service 4 August 2017

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