Staffordshire | Fire crews attend multiple chimney fires during weekend

Staffordshire | 6 Feb 2012

The bad weather over the weekend meant that Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were even busier than normal.

Firefighters in the North of the county were called to three incidents involving dogs falling through ice, two of them at Tunstall Park and one at Hales Hall Park in Cheadle.

At one of the Tunstall Park incidents yesterday, the dog owner had waded into the water to try and rescue the dog however had to turn back and so called the fire and rescue service for help.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind dog owners to keep their dogs away from frozen water and should a pet get into difficulty call the fire and rescue service straight away – don’t attempt a rescue yourself.

Elsewhere, crews from Gnosall and Cannock were kept busy with chimney fires, one on Abbeyside Road in Ranton and another on Station Street in Cheslyn Hay.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has experienced an increase in chimney fires since the cold weather hit this year and would like to remind Staffordshire residents to ensure their chimneys are swept at least once a year, before use.

Temperatures are set to drop below freezing again this evening and continue to dip throughout the week. For more information about keeping safe in the cold weather, visit

Greater Manchester | Woman suffers burns after clothes catch fire

Dearnalay Way, Chadderton | 6 Feb 2012

A woman suffered burns after her clothes caught fire while standing close to a fire in Chadderton.

Two fire engines from Chadderton Fire Station were called out to a house on Dearnalay Way at 5.50pm on Saturday, February 4.

A 34-year-year old woman had been standing in front of the fire when her sari caught fire.

Her 27-year-old brother spotted that her clothes were alight and pulled the clothing from her, burning his hands while helping her.

The woman suffered burns to her chest, back and arm and was taken to hospital.

Her brother was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Firefighters were first on the scene and gave first aid to the man and the woman while waiting for the ambulance service to arrive.

For advice on winter safety, please go to

For a Home Safety Check, which may include GMFRS fitting up to two free smoke alarms, please go to or call 0800 555 815.

Greater Manchester | Five cooking fire this weekend

Greater Manchester | 6 Feb 2012

Less than one week into Cooking Fire Safety Month, the icy weekend saw crews across Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service called to five more cooking fires.

On Saturday night at 9.22pm, a crew from Stretford were called to a sheltered accommodation flat on Lacy Street, where a pan of food had been left unattended.

A 72-year-old man was taken to hospital after fire crews gave him oxygen.  It’s believed he had fallen asleep while cooking.

Earlier that night, at 6.19pm one crew from Agecroft and one from Eccles were called to Manchester Road in Swinton where a pan of food had caused a small fire that had filled the house with smoke.  Crews used a fan to ventilate the house.

On Friday evening, at 7.51pm two fire engines were called to Brownley Road in Wythenshawe where a chip pan had been left unattended.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze with a hose reel.  They gave oxygen to an 85 year-old lady who was taken to hospital by ambulance.  A working smoke alarm had alerted the occupier.

At 7.12pm, as temperatures nose dived, a crew from Wigan and one from Hindley were called to Kitt Green Road in Marsh Green where a gas hob left on for heat caused a kitchen fire.

A 78-year-old man suffering from smoke inhalation was given oxygen therapy by fire crews.

At 4.56pm, two crews from Chadderton were called to a block of flats on Seatoller Court in Royton.  A chip pan fire was out when they arrived, leaving the flat heavily smoke logged.  The chip pan had been left unattended, causing the fire.

Crews carried out a Home Safety Check and fitted smoke alarms to the property.

Fire Authority Chairman Councillor David Acton said: ” Never leave cooking unattended – even to answer the phone or the door.  Serious fires can start when you are distracted, even for a few seconds.”
When cooking fried food, dry it before you put it in the hot oil. If the oil starts to smoke, turn off the heat and leave the pan to cool. Never fill the pan more than one-third full of oil. Never throw water over the pan.

Smoke Alarms…Your First Line of Defence

• Your first line of defence should be a smoke alarm. If there is a fire, a smoke alarm will immediately warn you, giving you and everyone in your home time to escape to safety.
• Fit smoke alarms on the ceiling on each floor in your home – the best places are top of the staircase, stair landing and between living and sleeping areas (do not fit them in the kitchen).
• Do NOT REMOVE THE BATTERIES – if your smoke alarm keeps going off it might be too close to the kitchen.
For more advice about safety in the kitchen, visit
For a free Home Fire Safety Check called GMFRS on 0800 555 815 or visit

For advice on kitchen safety, have a look at our website.

Stay safe in winter! For advice, have a look at and /fire_safety_advice/seasonal_safety/winter_safety.aspx

Essex | ECFRS issues winter weather warning

Essex County | 6 Feb 2012

As the county shivers in the grip of the severe weather which has hit the country Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has a few safety tips to help keep families safe while they stay warm in the snow.

As the mercury has dropped to below freezing many people have turned to additional temporary heating sources including fire and fan heaters. As well as bringing extra heat they also bring extra risk, but as long as a few simple precautions are followed everyone can stay warm and safe.

If you plan on using an open fire, make sure your chimney has been recently swept as build-ups of soot and ash can cause chimney fires.

When going to bed, householders should also make absolutely certain that an open fire is either out, or pushed back into the grate and a guard used to prevent flying embers hitting carpets or furniture. Interior doors should always be closed when going to bed as they can dramatically reduce the spread of fire.

Portable heaters should be dust-free and kept well away from anything that could catch fire. Sockets should never be overloaded as additional fan and oil heaters are plugged in

Candles should always be placed on a non flammable surface, be away from soft furnishing like curtains and never be left unattended. It is far safer to consider using torches instead of candles.

Senior Divisional Officer Gary Fleming, Service Delivery, said: “The cold weather brings with it extra risks and the need for extra caution.

“As well as taking precautions with their heating, residents need to remember the dangers of leaving cooking unattended, as the majority of accidental domestic fires begin in the kitchen.

People should take extra care on the roads during icy weather and only travel if absolutely necessary.

“The best advice I can give is make sure that you fit, and regularly test, a smoke alarm. It is the single most important piece of safety equipment in any home.”

Although ECFRS has well rehearsed plans in place to cope, it would like to remind people not to ring the service unnecessarily.

Motorists are reminded not travel unless it is absolutely essential you do so. If you decide you must travel, remember to ensure your car is fully fuelled and that you have packed warm clothes, blankets, food and drink, and your mobile phone and in-car phone charger to allow you to communicate with your friends and relatives if you do get stuck.

In addition to the obvious hazards on the road network, please also remember the dangers of trying to walk on iced ponds and lakes – not only to you but to the people making any subsequent rescue attempts. Ice is very hard to judge, it may look safe but it isn’t, so do not attempt to walk or stand on it.

Essex | ECFRS doing more with less money

Essex County | 6 Feb 2012

Essex County Fire and Rescue is working to do more at less cost, proactively embracinge the Big Society ethos and, most importantly, making sure that the protection offered to the people of Essex continues to grow despite dwindling budgets.

Two new life saving schemes see ECFRS continuing in its relentless aim to improve the way it interacts and gets out into the community to help those most in need.

The Southend Volunteer Scheme is a partnership between ECFRS and the Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS) to deliver increased fire safety to the town. Supporting the work of ECFRS’ own home fire safety technicians, volunteers are carrying out home fire safety visits to the most vulnerable people in the town.

Meanwhile, retained firefighters in Newport and Coggeshall have taken on the role of First Responders, providing on the spot emergency first aid in support of the East of England Ambulance Service.

In a medical emergency, the first few minutes are vital and thanks to a newly-trained team of firefighters, Newport and Coggeshall now has a new emergency response team on hand to provide immediate cover. Initial reaction has been so positive that ECFRS is to encourage more stations and crews to participate County-wide, particularly in rural areas.

Six firefighters from Coggeshall have been trained as First Responders, ready to deliver medical care to anyone in the village who finds themselves in crisis.

First Responders are alerted at the same time as the Ambulance Service. Each of them has received special training and equipment from the Ambulance Service and because they live and work in the community, the likelihood is that they will reach a casualty quicker than a team sent from outside.

Working in pairs the teams rush to help at a moments notice often arriving before an ambulance has time to get to the scene and provide the early medical care which could mean the difference between life and death. While awaiting the arrival of the Ambulance and its highly trained medical team.

The First Responder team will respond to emergency calls in a specially marked and equipped car wearing the red jump suit that is the uniform of first responders.

In the first month of 2012 the team have already been called out 15 times and in one case their help helped to prevent a desperately sick man from suffering a heart attack.

Sub Officer Trevor Disley, officer in charge at Coggeshall Fire Station, is one of the six taking part in the scheme.

He said: “It is something which all of us are pleased and proud to be doing. It is another way we can help our community and thanks to the training we have had we are all very confident in what we are doing and how we can help.

“We are alerted at the same time as an ambulance and our attendance does not affect the speed the ambulance arrives at, we are simply here to be an extra resource to help people while awaiting the arrival of the Ambulance Service.

“Our colleagues in the Ambulance Service told us that in the first minutes of an emergency every single minute delay can affect the patients’ chance of survival by 10% and because we are all here in the village we can be on scene in no time at all, we have even arrived to help before the person calling has put the phone down!.

“We can give oxygen therapy, have been trained in CPR and are equipped with a defibrillator to resuscitate anyone who needs it. We also reassure the patients and can talk to them about what is wrong and any medicine they have been taking so that as soon as the paramedic arrives we can handover that information and they can get to work straight away.

“Often just knowing that someone is there to help and offer reassurance can make a real difference to patients, it calms them down and means that they are often in a far better way when ambulance crews do arrive a few minutes later.”

In one case the First Responders helped a man who looked like he very easily could go into cardiac arrest right in front of them.

Firefighter Justin Knopp who was on duty as a First Responder that day said: “We had a call to a man in his 40s suffering chest pains. When we got there the man was slumped in his bed and had difficulty breathing. He had fluid on his chest and suffered with pneumonia.

“We sat him up and gave him oxygen therapy to get his breathing back under control.

“When the paramedic arrived he feared that the man might go into cardiac arrest and he briefed us on just what we should all do if that happens, but in the event he was able to stabilise him and get him to the hospital.

“I am sure that what we did helped get the patient stabalised and to hospital without suffering a heart attack.

“What we are there to do is help patients get through the first few minutes of their emergency, we are there to help in the first five or 10 minutes to give them the chance to survive long enough to get expert help from paramedics or at the hospital.

“The experience we get as First Responders helps us as firefighters. We already had the training to deal with incidents and now we have improved skills, knowledge and confidence to improve how we deal with casualties at our incidents as well.”

In Southend, the expanding and successful volunteer scheme has just trained its second group of volunteers so there are now 18 on the books.

Since its inception volunteers have carried out 129 Home Fire Safety visits and taken 177 referrals.

ECFRS Project Manager, Divisional Officer Stuart McMillan said: “The scheme is proving to be very successful, with many more vulnerable people being made safer in their own homes thanks to these volunteers.

“The scheme is providing extra capacity to deliver home fire safety visits building upon the excellent work our own technicians are already doing.”

The partnership sees the local charity managing a team of volunteers on ECFRS’ behalf, adding to the existing work carried out by ECFRS by fitting life saving smoke alarms in the homes of elderly and vulnerable people.

Alison Semmence, SAVS Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased to see the volunteers are not only gaining great satisfaction from providing fire safety advice to the most vulnerable residents, but they are also enjoying the whole experience of meeting and talking to them and being able to put something back into the community.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gordon Hunter said: “The Volunteer Scheme is progressing well, it has already carried out dozens of home fire safety visits to the elderly and vulnerable people we need to target.

“This scheme sees us aligning our expertise in Fire Safety with SAVS’ expertise in accessing and managing volunteers and the vulnerable people who need home fire safety visits.

“And First Responders are already out there providing first aid in the first vital minutes of a crisis

“These schemes are the Big Society in action and I believe we will see more and more schemes like this in the future.

“Despite the fact that we are facing financial constraints, as a Service with the support of the highly dedicated people who work for us, we are doing all we can to deliver more with less, by collaborating with partners such as the Ambulance Service and SAVs and also working smarter.

“For example instead of our fire crews being detained attending known false alarms from AFAs in offices and fatories they are available to do more such as First Responding. It is important to add that our First Responders do not in any way affect the availability of or Fire Engines. Coggeshall and Newport fire stations are still there when you need them for fire and rescue. I would not allow any of our new initiatives to detrimentally affect our core function of fire and rescue.”

London England | Thirteen rescued by firefighters after cigarette causes fire

Barnfield Gardens, Plumstead, SE18 | 6 Feb 2012

Thirteen people, including six children, had to be rescued from their flats on Barnfield Gardens, Plumstead, SE18 after a fire broke out in a ground floor flat last night. Part of the flat’s living room was damaged by  the fire.

Residents from the flats above the fire were trapped by smoke and had to be rescued by firefighters. Two women, a man and two children were rescued from the first floor by firefighters using a ladder. They were suffering from smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital by ambulance.

A woman and four children were also rescued by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus from the second floor and were carried down the staircase and out of the building. A man and two women were also recued by firefighters from the third floor. All of those rescued from the second and third floors were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation by London Ambulance Service.

Watch Manager Justin Hudson, from Woolwich fire station, who was at the scene said:

“We believe the fire was caused by a cigarette. This fire shows just how dangerous cigarettes can be so if you do smoke, please make sure your cigarette is completely out once you’ve finished with it. Hundreds of fires are caused by cigarettes each year in London and many of them could be easily avoided if smokers took better care.”

“The ground floor flat didn’t have any smoke alarms and the residents were only alerted when a smoke alarm in one of the other flats went off. Having a smoke alarm in your home is essential as it provides a vital early warning if a fire breaks out and allows you to escape quickly. Smoke alarms save lives so I’d urge everyone to go out and get one today.”

The Brigade was called at 2334 and the fire was under control by 0119.

Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters from Woolwich and Plumstead fire stations were on the scene.

West Midlands | WMFRA agrees to establish a limited company

West Midlands | 6 Feb 2012

At its meeting on 23 January 2012, the Executive Committee of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority (WMFRA) agreed to the establishment of a company limited by shares and wholly owned by the Authority, so that it may undertake trading and income generation activities.

The company, which will be known as West Midlands Fire Service Business Safety Ltd, has been established in line with the terms of the Localism Act 2011, which offers greater freedom and flexibility to public service bodies to generate new business opportunities.

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is having to cope with one of the largest cuts in funding in comparison to any other UK Fire and Rescue Service. As a result, it is being forced to review the way in which it delivers emergency fire and rescue provision across the West Midlands conurbation.

Through the establishment of the limited company, West Midlands Fire Service will seek to deliver fire and rescue related services to external companies in its core areas of expertise.

Cllr John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority said, “The ability for us to generate income through the limited company will go some way towards plugging the huge hole in our government grant funding.

“Any income generated by the limited company will be ploughed straight back into our front line services, enabling us to continue providing the best possible fire and rescue service to the people of the West Midlands.”

The new company will have its performance and governance measured regularly by WMFRA.

Commenting on Executive Committee’s decision, Chief Fire Officer, Vij Randeniya said, “It is important that the communities we serve understand that this will not affect the day to day service they receive from us. Ultimately, our aim is that we are able to continue to provide them with the first class fire and rescue service to which they have become accustomed.

“We have made no secret of the cuts we face to our government grant funding and the many challenges this places upon us. I hope that people will see this innovative move as an indication of our commitment to protecting front line services”.

France | Nora Berra rappelle les conduites à tenir en période de grand froid

Paris | 6 Feb 2012

Nora BERRA, Secrétaire d’État chargée de la santé, rappelle, dans le cadre de la vague de froid qui s’abat actuellement et encore pour plusieurs jours sur la France, les principales mesures à adopter en cas de grand froid, notamment pour les populations vulnérables (sans-abri, nourrissons, personnes âgées ou présentant certaines pathologies chroniques cardiovasculaires, respiratoires ou endocriniennes).

Le grand froid, le vent glacé, la neige sont des risques météorologiques qui peuvent être dommageables pour la santé. Leurs effets sont insidieux et peuvent passer inaperçus. Il faut donc redoubler de vigilance.

Chaque année, des centaines de personnes sont victimes de pathologies provoquées par le froid. Celui-ci agit directement en provoquant gelures et hypothermies. Il favorise les crises d’asthme et d’insuffisance coronarienne aiguë (angine de poitrine), ainsi que le développement d’infections broncho-pulmonaires.

En outre, une des conséquences indirectes du froid est le risque accru d’intoxication par le monoxyde de carbone, première cause de mortalité par toxique en France.

En cas de grand froid, la Secrétaire d’Etat recommande aux personnes les plus vulnérables d’éviter de sortir. En cas de sortie, il est nécessaire d’adapter son habillement : « pensez à vous couvrir la tête et à vous munir d’une écharpe pour recouvrir le bas du visage et particulièrement la bouche. Habillez-vous très chaudement » préconise-t-elle. Il faut être particulièrement vigilant pour les nourrissons et les enfants et éviter les porte-bébés, qui sont susceptibles de comprimer ses membres inférieurs et d’entraîner des gelures graves » rajoute-t-elle. « Il est préférable que les enfants soient transportés dans les bras ou une poussette pour qu’ils bougent régulièrement et se réchauffent » précise-t-elle.

Par ailleurs, elle demande à tous de s’assurer du bon fonctionnement des ventilations et des appareils de chauffage à domicile fonctionnant avec des combustibles (fuel, charbon…) afin d’éviter les intoxications au monoxyde de carbone. Ce gaz incolore et inodore produit par ces appareils mal réglés est responsable tous les ans de plusieurs dizaines de décès. Enfin en cas d’utilisation, de groupes électrogènes il est indispensable de les installer à l’extérieur des bâtiments pour les mêmes raisons.

« Comme en cas de fortes chaleurs, nous devons tous rester mobilisés face à ce froid intense, il faut, par exemple, prendre régulièrement des nouvelles des personnes âgées ou handicapées et/ou isolées de son voisinage ou entourage » souligne la Secrétaire d’Etat.

Cette année pour la première fois, Nora BERRA et Benoist APPARU, Secrétaire d’Etat au logement, se sont mobilisés pour financer conjointement à hauteur de 150 000€ chacun, la présence de médecins de la réserve sanitaire dans les maraudes aux côtés des associations dans la région parisienne et les grandes villes françaises. Cette organisation qui est gérée par l’Eprus (Etablissement de préparation et de réponses aux urgences sanitaires) doit permettre d’assurer une réponse adaptée aux difficultés des SDF qui sont particulièrement exposés dans cette période de froid intense.

Et bien sur « si vous remarquez une personne sans abri ou en difficulté à cause du froid dans la rue, appelez le 115 pour la signaler sans délai », rappelle-t-elle.

Consulter :


Finland | Small amounts of radioactive iodine have been detected in air samples

Helsinki | 6 Feb 2012

Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority has measured small amounts of radioactive iodine (I-131) in outdoor air samples gathered 16. – 23. January from all samplers of airborne radioactive substances in Finland. The measured amounts of iodine were of the order of one millionth becquerel per cubic meter of air. These amounts are so small that they do not affect human health.

According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the winds in Finland during the sampling period blew from the southeast.

STUK is working to uncover the origin of the iodine in cooperation with the neighbouring countries’ radiation protection authorities.

STUK monitors the concentration of airborne radioactive substances constantly at eight locations in Finland. With the pumps in each sampler the particles in the air are sucked in and trapped by a filter of glass fibre. Those filters are then analyzed in the laboratory. With this method even very small changes in the radiation situation can be detected. Additional information on the monitoring of airborne radioactive substances is available on STUK’s website – general information, and measurement results.

In addition, STUK monitors the dose rate from external radiation in Finland with an automatic monitoring network, which has 255 measuring stations. A measuring station alerts immediately if the dose rate increases from normal background radiation, which is 0.05 – 0.3 microsievert per hour. The monitoring network for external radiation does not register such low levels of radiation as have now been measured in outdoor air. The measurement results from the external dose rate monitoring network are available on STUK’s website. They are also available (in Finnish) on STUK’s Facebook page ( under the tab “Säteilytilanne tänään”.

Italy | Guida contro il freddo

Roma | 6 Feb 2012

Le ondate di freddo intenso, possono provocare problemi alla salute. Oltre che l’incremento di sindromi influenzali, le basse temperature possono causare, infatti, anche una recrudescenza della sintomatologia di malattie croniche, specialmente dell’apparato respiratorio, cardiovascolare e muscolo scheletrico. Nelle condizioni più estreme, si possono verificare anche casi di ipotermia ed assideramento.

Proprio per fronteggiare eventuali emergenze sanitarie correlate alle basse temperature e al clima invernale estremamente rigido, le autorità e le istituzioni del nostro Paese si sono attivate per predisporre e mettere in atto adeguate misure di sorveglianza e prevenzione nei confronti delle fasce più deboli e disagiate della popolazione, come anziani, malati cronici, bambini, persone povere e senza tetto.

A livello nazionale è attivo il  sistema di sorveglianza rapida sulla mortalità, in grado di intercettare e mettere in evidenza le possibili conseguenze sulla salute del clima rigido. Inoltre il Ministero della Salute ha messo a punto una guida ed un decalogo per prevenire e combattere gli effetti delle basse temperature sulla salute. Si tratta di alcune semplici regole per affrontare nel migliore dei modi il periodo più freddo dell’anno e proteggersi dai malanni dell’inverno.

Ecco cosa si deve e non si deve fare:

  1. Regolate la temperatura degli ambienti interni verificando che la stessa sia conforme agli standard consigliati e curate l’umidificazione degli ambienti di casa riempiendo le apposite vaschette dei radiatori: una casa troppo fredda e un’aria troppo secca possono costituire un’insidia per la salute. Può essere opportuno provvedere all’isolamento di porte e finestre, riducendo gli spifferi con appositi nastri o altro materiale isolante
  2. Abbiate cura di aerare correttamente i locali: l’intossicazione da monossido di carbonio è assai frequente e può avere conseguenze mortali
  3. Se usate stufe elettriche o altre fonti di calore (come la borsa di acqua calda) evitate il contatto ravvicinato con le mani o altre parti del corpo
  4. Prestate particolare attenzione ai bambini molto piccoli e alle persone anziane non autosufficienti, controllando anche la loro temperatura corporea
  5. Mantenete contatti frequenti con anziani che vivono soli (familiari, amici o vicini di casa) e verificate che dispongano di sufficienti riserve di cibo e medicinali. Segnalate ai servizi sociali la presenza di senzatetto, in condizioni di difficoltà.
  6. Assumete pasti e bevande calde (almeno 1 litro e ½ di liquidi), evitate gli alcolici perché non aiutano contro il freddo, al contrario, favoriscono la dispersione del calore prodotto dal corpo
  7. Uscite nelle ore meno fredde della giornata: evitate, se possibile, la mattina presto e la sera soprattutto se si soffre di malattie cardiovascolari o respiratorie
  8. Indossate vestiti idonei: sciarpa, guanti, cappello, ed un caldo soprabito, sono ottimi ausili contro il freddo
  9. Proteggetevi dagli sbalzi di temperatura quando passate da un ambiente caldo ad uno freddo e viceversa
  10. Se viaggiate in automobile non dimenticate di portare con voi coperte e bevande calde