Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Summer Safety Campaign

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up Sainsbury’s to launch their Summer Safety campaign.

Firefighters will be visiting Sainsbury’s stores across the County to promote summer fire safety to shoppers. Promotional safety flyers will also be displayed next to barbecue equipment in the stores.

Head of Risk Reduction, Ian Sloss said, ‘As the weather warms up, many people will hold barbecues and we need to ensure that we prevent as many incidents from occurring as possible. Of course it is not only barbecues which pose an outdoor fire risk, grass fires are also a problem over the summer months and last year firefighters attended over 40 grass fires every week throughout summer. We are hoping that by displaying the safety flyers in Sainsbury’s supermarkets we will be reaching our target audience and encouraging people to take extra care this summer.’

The flyers will be displayed throughout June, July and August and offer advice to anyone planning a barbecue, such as making sure the barbecue is well away from sheds, fences and other materials which could easily ignite and never leaving a barbecue unattended.

Neil Lennox, Group Head of Safety at Sainsbury’s said, ‘Staying safe when using barbecues over the summer months is very important and we want to help to ensure the safety of our customers in any way possible. Our stores are at the very heart of the community they serve and we want to make a positive difference to Staffordshire.’

Bin Fires in Bentilee

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are warning people in Stoke on Trent to keep their wheelie bins and refuse containers out of sight, following two incidents in the Bentilee area last night [Thursday].

The first call was received at 1.55am and involved a fire in a wheelie bin on Swaythling Green. Whilst crews were extinguishing this fire they noticed smoke issuing from a neighbouring property. Again this incident involved another fire within a wheelie bin but this time on Winchester Avenue. Crews from Hanley attended both of these incidents.

Stoke on Trent Assistant Area Commander, Andrew Leedham commented:

“Luckily both fires were confined to the wheelie bins only, however we have attended numerous incidents in the past where the fires have in fact spread into properties causing unnecessary damage to peoples homes, and putting lives at risk.

“Both of these fires, which were within a close proximity to each other, are believed to have been caused deliberately. We would urge members of the public to ensure that refuse containers and wheelie bins are stored outsight and away from buildings, and where possible locked away or padlocked shut to prevent fires from spreading.”

To book a free Home Fire Risk Check contact: 0800 0241 999. For all other non emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills. In an emergency dial 999.

Councillor Ross Irving Elected Vice Chair Of Staffordshire Fire Authority

Cllr Ross Irving was elected as the new Vice Chairman of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority to support Cllr Len Bloomer who was re-elected as the Chairman.

Conservative Councillor Len Bloomer enters his second year as Chairman whilst Conservative and Independent Alliance Councillor, Ross Irving, will take over as Vice Chairman from Cllr Barrie Mycock.

Ross Irving has been elected in to the position of Vice Chair of the authority, 12 months after the jointly accepted protocol of a Chair from Staffordshire County Council supported by a Vice Chair from Stoke-on-Trent City Council was broken and Cllr Barrie Mycock was elected as Vice Chair.

Cllr Ross Irving said, ‘I feel very honoured to be nominated into the position of Vice Chairman and I look forward to embracing the opportunities that this new role will bring. I join the Authority at a very exciting and busy time, particularly with the opening of the first new community fire stations later this year.’

Cllr Len Bloomer said, ‘I am delighted to be re-elected as Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past year and I look forward to another exciting and challenging year with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

I also have the pleasure of welcoming onto the Authority, Cllr Ross Irving who will take up the position of Vice Chairman. His predecessor, Cllr Barrie Mycock did some fantastic work and I have every confidence that Mr Irving will do an equally good job.’

The full list of members is:

Staffordshire County Councillor
Cllr John Bernard

Cllr David Billson

Cllr Len Bloomer (Chairman)

Cllr Peter Davies

Cllr William Day

Cllr Ray Easton

Cllr Terry Finn

Cllr John Francis

Cllr Bob Fraser

Cllr Phil Jones

Cllr Ian Lawson

Cllr Geoffrey Morrison

Cllr Barrie Mycock

Cllr Jeremy Oates

Cllr Steve Povey

Cllr Robert Reade

Cllr Rex Roberts, OBE.

Cllr Simon Tagg

Cllr John Wells

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Members (6)

Cllr John Burgess

Cllr John Davis

Cllr Olwen Hamer

Cllr Ross Irving (Vice Chairman)

Cllr Javid Najmi

Cllr Mohammed Matloob

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Looking For Volunteers

Fancy Being A Fire Service Volunteer?

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is looking for 10 volunteers to help support the delivery of community fire safety in the Newcastle area.

They are holding a recruitment event at Newcastle Fire Station today (Friday 4th June) from 10.00 am for interested parties to go along and find out more about the project, which will involve successful recruits helping with Home Fire Risk Checks and community events.

David Steele, Risk Reduction Manager said, ‘This is the first time we’ve recruited volunteers to carry out community fire safety. This is a great opportunity for people either looking to volunteer or those who are unemployed and are looking to widen their skills. Initially we will be running this as a six month pilot however if it is successful we’ll be looking to roll it out in other areas of the County.’

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is being helped by The Newcastle branch of the North Staffordshire Volunteer Centre who will be helping to coordinate the selection process.

Jo Phillips, North Staffordshire Volunteer Centres Manager said, ‘We are very excited to be supporting this new programme and are working closely with the team at Newcastle Fire Station. We would encourage anyone who is interested to come along to the open day, give us a call, or send an email, and we can provide more information about the role.’

If you are interested in volunteering and are over the age of 18 then head over to Newcastle Fire Station, visit Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s website www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or contact the North Staffordshire Volunteer Centre on 01538 398240 or email: northstaffsvolunteerings@smcvs.co.uk.

Service Pays Tribute to Former Stoke-on-Trent Firefighter

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s oldest former firefighter, Bob Whitby has passed away at the age of 103.

Bob, who served at Hanley and Burslem fire stations between 1926 and 1962, sadly passed away on Thursday 13th May.

An act of remembrance was observed at the AGM of The Staffordshire Branch of The National Association of Retired Firefighters held earlier this week. The family have also agreed to a full fire and rescue service funeral to honour Bob and so the Service’s Ceremonial Squad will be in attendance.

Retired Assistant Divisional Officer, Malcolm Botham said:

“Bob had been an active member of our retired network for many years and he will be remembered for his remarkable memory of his time with the Service. He will be greatly missed by all those who met him and remembered with much admiration and respect.”

Bob’s son, Gerry Whitby said:

“My father was a man of few words, who was studious, thorough and offered guidance, when asked. He was much admired and very modest. Our family were extremely proud of his achievements, in his career, his hobbies and his way of life.”

Bob joined the brigade in April 1926 as a retained firefighter at Hanley Fire Station, following in his father’s footsteps. The following year he became a wholetime firefighter and he served throughout World War 2. He was promoted to Station Officer at Burslem Fire Station in 1941 where he ended his career after 36 years.

Following his retirement Bob remained active and at the age of 86 he started to write a book, reminiscing his life in the Service. At the age of 90 he completed the book, “Fire Service Memoirs” and 20 bound copies were produced.

After retiring Bob remained in contact with his fire service colleagues through the Service’s retired welfare network. On his 100th birthday he had a celebration party at Burslem Fire Station.

Lead Theft At Longton Fire Station

Yesterday we reported on the damage caused to Stoke Minster by lead thieves, today we have heard that Longton Fire Station is the latest of an increasing number of buildings in Stoke-on-Trent to have had the unwelcome attention of lead thieves.

Thieves managed to remove lead tiles worth £3000 from the roof of the station sometime before 27 April.

Staff only noticed the theft after it had rained overnight on 27 April and they were faced with flooded rooms the next morning.

Area Commander for Stoke-on-Trent, Wayne Bowcock said, ‘We are extremely disappointed that anyone would do this to any building, let alone a building that’s sole purpose is to serve the community. We hope someone from the local community will come forward with information to help trace the culprits.’

The theft caused £6,000 worth of damage, double what the tiles were actually worth, as the roof has had to be made watertight again, electricians have been required to repair damaged electrics & heating and several rooms have had to be cleaned and re-decorated.

PC Lisa Joynson at Longton Police Station said, ‘This theft has been reported to and is being investigated by Staffordshire Police. Anyone with information is asked to contact Longton Police on 0300 123 44 55 or alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.’

Come and enjoy a family fun day in Blurton

A free family fun day to help to celebrate community cohesion will take place next month at Blurton Millpond.

The event, Millpond Family Funday, aims to pull community groups together and allow groups working in the area to engage with the residents. It will take place between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday June 5, 2010. Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be present to offer advice to visitors.

A variety of entertainment and activities will be on offer to guests including, facepainting, dandelion the clown, bungee run, balloon modeller, birds of prey, Staffordshire Wildlife, Bouncy Castle, Inflatable obstacle course, caricaturist, circus skills.

For further information please telephone either Kevin Hawkins on 233265 or Sue Williams on 234741.

Stoke-on-Trent Road Safety Figures Smashed

The latest figures for road safety in Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire show that that death & serious injuries have dropped to their lowest ever levels.

Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership has announced a dramatic downward trend during the last five years with the number of people being killed or seriously injured plummeting by 32% from 464 in 2004 to 314 in 2009.

Chairman of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership Governance Board David Wilson said, ‘Despite each casualty being one too many, this is fantastic news. Staffordshire’s unique approach to saving lives on our roads through its Safer Roads Partnership sees Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Services delivering an effective combination of education and enforcement ““ and the results speak for themselves. Working with communities that have road safety concerns, providing a comprehensive programme of pedestrian and cyclist training in schools and co-ordinating a raft of rider development and safety awareness initiatives for bikers are just some examples of how the partnership reaches every sector of our community with its road safety messages. However, we will not be taking a back seat. We will continue to keep the pressure on and work together to reduce road casualties even further.’

The new figures have smashed national casualty reduction targets set by the Department for Transport. In Staffordshire, those killed and seriously injured have exceeded the target by 7.7%.

These latest figures back up the work that the road safety team has been doing to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the area’s roads.

The team has also helped to reduce casualties among some of the most vulnerable road users.

A total of 364 motorcyclists were killed, seriously injured or sustained slight injuries last year compared to 418 in 2008, whilst casualties involving drivers and passengers aged between 16 and 25 also fell by 64 to 1,379.

Copper Thefts Putting Lives At Risk

Burglars are risking the lives of themselves and innocent members of the public by committing crime.

The warning has been issued by police in Stoke-on-Trent following an incident at an address in Scotia Road just after 8.30pm on Monday.

Officers from both Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to the address to find that offenders had stolen and/or damaged copper piping within the property. This piping was carrying the gas supply. Fortunately the incident was made safe and the gas switched off and no further damage or injury was caused.

The immediate gas supply was quickly shut off and the property ventilated. No one was in the house at the time and neighbouring properties did not need to be evacuated.

Chief Inspector Peter Hall, from Stoke-on-Trent division said, ‘An investigation into this incident is now underway and my officers want to hear from anyone who saw suspicious persons and/or activity in Scotia Road last night. Fortunately the swift actions of the emergency services, together with gas experts, were able to avert any potential explosion. I believe that this was a foolish and inexperienced thief, not someone trying to cause extensive damage or injury by causing a gas leak. Unfortunately crimes of this type cause thousands of pounds of damage and provide the thief with little more than petty cash from the value of the scrap stolen. Cutting into any piping where mains services are connected is very dangerous and could lead to serious injury or loss of life. I would urge local people to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to us, particularly where properties are known to be vacant. Staffordshire Police will continue to work hard to bring offenders to justice.’

Ian Sloss, Risk Reduction Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said ‘People who carry out this type of crime expose themselves and others to possible serious injury, or even worse. The ignition of gas which has been released, accidentally or otherwise, can cause fires which result in explosion. This endangers the life of the perpetrator, the general public and emergency services staff called to attend an incident.’

If anyone has any information on this incident they are urged to contact Staffordshire Police on: 0300 123 4455 quoting Crime reference number: 0802 of 11/01/10

Vulnerable Adults Become Fire Stars

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched an interactive fire safety training package designed to support and protect people with learning difficulties.

In its previous guise as PRIDE, the initiative enjoyed success in both Stoke-on-Trent and Lichfield. It has now been improved, updated and renamed Fire Stars. The new name is taken from a training exercise in which participants are placed in a simulated home environment and asked to put adhesive stars on fire hazards they identify.

Donna Broadhead, Watch Manager at Hanley Fire Station, said “The project is helping to educate vulnerable members of the community on matters of fire safety and prevention in the home. It is very pictorial, showing lots of simple images which are easy to understand and help get the message across regarding fire safety, So far our prime target has been young people with learning difficulties who are living semi-independently in sheltered accommodation. From January we aim to roll this out once a month and will be looking to target older people with the same messages.”

The main focus of Fire Stars, a power point presentation, is to illustrate the main causes of fire in the home and generate discussion around risk reduction.

“We simulate a home environment and ask people to work in groups to identify potential fire risks. Talks then concentrate on the importance and impact of smoke alarms, night time routines and escape plans before a second exercise gives people the chance to put their understanding into practice. We ask people taking part in the training to pass on the knowledge they’ve learned to friends and family. In doing so they become Fire Stars and are presented with certificates.” adds Donna.

Having already been delivered to residents at Lovatt Court and people attending Riverside Training Employment Centre, Fire Stars will visit Rising Stars Youth Group and Shelton Day Centre in the New Year.