West Midlands | Land Rover Experience installs an AED and trains staff in Herefordshire

Pictured left to right: Alf Bates, Paul Davies, Gareth Williams, Diane Pearson (WMAS), Stephanie Hardy, Verity Lannie, Chris Bartlett, Martin Gregory, Dave Griffiths.

Land Rover Experience, Herefordshire | 8 Feb 2012

A vital piece of lifesaving equipment has been installed by West Midlands Ambulance at Land Rover Experience in Herefordshire.

Staff at the centre in Eastnor have been trained in using the defibrillator, a device used to restart the heart of someone who suffers a cardiac arrest.

Land Rover Experience in Eastnor has approximately sixty members of staff; all of whom have first aid training. On January 24th, eight members of full-time staff went on to be taught Basic Life Support, CPR and defibrillation by West Midlands Ambulance Service trainer Diane Pearson. It means there will be someone with Basic Life Support training on site every day it is open, covering the six-and-a-half-thousand people who visit it and use its fifty miles of off-road tracks every year as well as the fifty thousand who visit neighbouring Eastnor Castle. Eastnor is the first Land Rover Experience site to have a defibrillator installed.

Dave Griffiths, Centre Manager of Land Rover Experience at Eastnor said: “It means we can look after our guests, our staff and people who visit the castle. It is part of our duty of care to those who visit us. We would be the first point of contact if anything happened to anyone in the village and we could be at the castle very quickly if a guest there had a cardiac arrest.”

For more information about Land Rover Experience, visit www.landrover.com/experience

Eastern England | Snow baby’s safe arrival – thanks to ambulance service

Thorpe Hamlet, Norwich | 8 Feb 2012

A baby who made her arrival outside in the snow yesterday (Monday, February 6) was ensured a safe welcome to the world thanks to the ambulance service’s newest call handler.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) was called to snowy Thorpe Hamlet in Norwich where a mother had unexpectedly gone into labour outside her home.

But before the first ambulance crew arrived just minutes later, EEAST call handler Dan Apps – only in his third week at the Trust – had helped safely deliver the baby over the phone.

Supervised by his mentor Kaylee Groucott, Dan was able to calm down the panic-stricken father enough to talk him through delivering his daughter, despite a language difference, and ensuring mother and baby were made comfortable after the birth.

Dan was then able to report to the crews en route that the little girl had been born and that, although mother and baby were in the snow, both were warm.

Dan said: “I have to admit it was the call I was most nervous about happening. I’d been fine dealing with cardiac problems other serious calls but this was seeing a new life into the world, it was a huge responsibility but also really exciting at the same time.

“It was great to be able to help deliver the baby but there was a huge sigh of relief afterwards.”

Soon after the baby’s arrival a rapid response vehicle (RRV) clinician arrived to tend to mother and baby, followed by paramedics in an ambulance who took them both to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital maternity unit.

Nicholas Jones, Assistant General Manager of the EEAST Norwich control room, said: “We wish mother and baby our very best. This is such a heart-warming story and all credit goes to our staff for making it so, particularly Dan who was only three weeks into the job when he was faced with the nerve-wracking prospect of making sure a new baby was delivered safely in fairly challenging circumstances.

“This is a fantastic achievement for someone so new to the job  and it pays testament to how well the call handling system works so that even a new call handler is able to deal with this kind of incident.”

Wales | Hotelier pays tribute to lifesaving paramedic

Welshpool | 8 Feb 2012

A Corwen hotelier doesn’t remember much about the road traffic collision that nearly claimed his life, but he will never forget the paramedic who helped pull him back from the brink.

David Cowan, who runs Bron Y Graig hotel, was reunited this week with paramedic Gareth Williams…the man he says gave him a fighting chance of survival following the collision on the A5104 near Corwen.

He was on his way home from lunch with his daughter in Chester last April when a vehicle came towards him on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend at speed and collided with him head on. The driver of the other vehicle was jailed for a year in December after admitting dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Gareth, who lives in Holywell and is now a full time air paramedic at the Mid Wales Air Ambulance base in Welshpool, arrived at the scene with colleague, emergency medical technician Aled Jones.

“We saw two vehicles both with severe front end damage which indicated a high speed frontal collision. Mr Cowan was sat in his driver’s seat with his legs outside of the vehicle. I could see he had a very serious leg injury and he looked very pale and agitated with blueing to his lips,” said Gareth.

The paramedic, who is also team manager for Denbigh Community First Responders, immediately gave David oxygen and assessed his circulation: “His pulse was rapid and weak and his breathing was rapid and shallow. His head had hit the windscreen and he had an open fracture to his right leg.”

The paramedic dressed the patient’s wounds and moved David onto a spinal board and into the ambulance.

“Mr Cowan kept saying he couldn’t breathe, his breathing was getting shallower and his colour worse despite being on oxygen. I listened to his chest with a stethoscope and found no breath sounds on his right hand side and I percussed his chest which sounded loud and hollow, a sign of a collapsed lung.

With pressure building up in the space around David’s lungs causing each breath to be a struggle and his heart to work less efficiently, Gareth worked quickly to make sure the hotelier could survive the trip to hospital.

Gareth said: “At this point I could see Mr Cowan’s life was in serious danger of slipping away. I inserted a large cannula into the upper chest, into the chest cavity to allow the pressure to escape and allow the lungs and heart to expand and work. If we hadn’t been able to do this, it would have been touch and go as to whether David made the journey to hospital.”

David was rushed by Gareth and Alun to the Maelor where A&E staff were able to re inflate his collapsed lung easing the pressure off his vital organs.

He had also suffered a ruptured artery, a broken femur and open fracture, as well as lacerations to his head and an injury to his nose. A Vascular surgeon from Bangor was able to stem the bleeding from the artery and save his leg.

On meeting Gareth, the hotelier explained he couldn’t remember the incident, even getting into the car at Chester, but recalled saying to the paramedic that he couldn’t breathe while he was still in the car.

Listening to how Gareth pulled him back from the brink, David said he was ‘so thankful’ to the paramedic and Alun for what they both did for him back in April.

He added: “I am so grateful to Gareth, he is a star, I do still have my problems but by God, thanks to him I am still here. I am so grateful I had the chance to meet him, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here, I owe my life to Gareth and also to the surgeons who operated on me after the accident.”

Yorkshire | Indian restaurant chain installs AEDs in all of its UK venues

Left to right: Shaun Ingram MD of Cardiac Science, Shabir Hussain owner of the Akbar's chain and David Smith from Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Bradford | 8 Feb 2012

Bradford restaurant chain, Akbar’s, has become the first in the UK to install an automated external defibrillator (AED) in all its UK venues, including its flagship restaurant in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The devices are proven life savers for people who experience sudden cardiac arrest and the automated nature of the devices means that they can be used by almost anyone in the event of such a medical emergency, providing vital support for the local community prior to the arrival of an ambulance.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been working closely with Akbar’s on the project and will assist with the placement of the AEDs on the premises and provide staff at the sites with training in basic life-support and the use of the defibrillators.

David Smith, Locality Manager for Network Response at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said the move would be life-saving. “Every second counts when someone is in cardiac arrest and the first few minutes are critical. If effective treatment can be performed within those minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced. After calling 999, effective chest compressions are key and with the added benefit of having an AED on site, a patient’s chance of survival dramatically increases.

“We are delighted that Akbar’s has chosen to join the network of organisations across Yorkshire with whom we have developed similar partnerships to ensure that community resuscitation is widely available, socially accepted and encouraged as an everyday skill.”

Shabir Hussain, who owns the Akbar’s chain, explained the reasons for the five-figure investment. “We have thousands of people coming through our restaurants every week and numerous employees. It’s important that in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest we are able to respond. But this is about a wider community safeguard. Anyone on the street outside our restaurants or down the road could now call on us to be first on the scene.”

Shaun Ingram, MD of Cardiac Science, the AED manufacturers, welcomed Akbar’s decision, but said more high street awareness was needed. “Akbar’s has set the pace for this which will hopefully encourage others to consider getting involved.”

The AEDs give the ambulance service precious time to get to someone with a sudden cardiac arrest, by enabling a lay person to administer the treatment needed quickly. Shaun Ingram added: “No technical or medical skills or experience are required. The device talks you through the whole operation step by step.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is the biggest killer in the UK with 91,000 victims each year*. Eighty per cent of those happen outside hospitals and of those the survival rate is less than 5%. However, when the patient receives early defibrillation their chance of survival increases.

In the United States, which benefits from legislation governing their deployment, AEDs are widely installed in public. In this country there is no such mandate so the majority of public places do not have them.

*Statistic from the CHS: http://c-h-s.org/issue-3/articles/p_48.htm

Akbar’s is a chain of 12 Indian restaurants, founded by Shabir Hussain in Bradford in 1995. There are now restaurants in Manchester, Sheffield, York, Newcastle and Birmingham.

Cardiac Science is a global supplier of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), as well as other ECG and cardiac rehabilitation equipment. Cardiac Science AEDs can be found in locations such as schools, military installations and hospitals worldwide.

Greater Manchester | Wheat bag warning after elderly woman burns foot

Beech Avenue, Uppermill | 8 Feb 2012

An elderly woman burned her foot, bed and carpet after a microwaveable wheat bag overheated at her home in Uppermill.

Firefighters are asking people to use the items with caution following the incident as part of the advice they are giving out for Cooking Fire Safety Month.

A crew from Mossley Fire Station went to the woman’s home on Beech Avenue the day after the incident when her daughter called GMFRS.

Firefighters discovered that an 85-year-old woman had burned her foot, bedding and carpet after using a wheat bag.

The woman dealt with the small fire herself and threw the bag out of her bed when she realised there was a problem, which is how it burned the carpet.

The heat was such that not only did it burn the carpet but scorched the floorboards underneath as well.

It was reported to the fire service on January 19, after the pensioner was visited by her district nurse and the nurse saw the blister from the burn to her foot.

The wound was treated by the nurse and she did not go to hospital for treatment to the wound.

It was the pensioner’s daughter that reported the incident to GMFRS.

Wheat bags heated in microwave ovens can be used to give relief to aching joints and muscles and stay warm for quite some time – but they must be used with care.

Watch Manager Graham Singleton, based at Mossley Fire Station said: “Had the woman not woken and been able to deal with this fire, we could be talking about a far more serious incident.

“A product that absorbs and stores heat in this way is a potential fire risk. For this reason it is vital to follow manufacturers’ instructions and ensure that wheat bags are in good condition so they pose less of a danger.”


  • Buy wheat bags with clear heating instructions from the manufacturer, and follow them.
  • Buy bags which include manufacturers’ contact details if you have a problem.
  • Only use as a heat pack for direct application to the body.
  • Ensure your microwave turntable is working properly.
  • Watch for signs of overuse, such as a smell of burning or charring.
  • Leave bags to cool in a safe area and on a noncombustible surface like a kitchen sink.


  • Use a wheat bag as a bed-warmer.
  • Overheat the bag.
  • Reheat the bag until it has completely cooled – which may take up to two hours.
  • Leave the microwave oven unattended when heating.
  • Put the bag away for storage until it has cooled.
  • Use the bag if you see evidence of problems.

Greater Manchester | Control operator keeps couple calm as fire crews work to rescue them from fire

Holmeswood Road, Lever Edge, Bolton | 8 Feb 2012

A young couple were rescued by firefighters after a fire in an electrical consumer unit of a block of flats in Bolton.

Two crews from Bolton Central and one from Farnworth were called to Holmeswood Road in Lever Edge at 12.25am.

The electrical consumer unit was in a communal hallway of the block of flats.

Our senior control operator Ged Basson remained on the line to the young couple for nine minutes as crews tackled the fire.

He was able to give them safety advice and keep them calm, telling them to stay on their balcony with the door shut and to line it with cushions.

After fighting the fire, crews were then able to lead the two to safety.

Watch Manager David Holden said: “They had turned their electrical storage heaters on for the first time and heard a loud bang as there was a short circuit to the consumer unit.”

“We located the fire on the ground floor and put it out and were then able to take the two people to safety.”

Electrical faults can occur even in well maintained appliances.  A working smoke alarm is always your first line of defence.   For a free Home Fire Safety Check, which may include the fitting of smoke alarms, please contact GMFRS on 0800 555 815 or visit /fire_safety_advice/home_fire_risk_assessments.aspx

But there are things you can do to avoid electrical hazards.  /fire_safety_advice/home_fire_safety/electrical_equipment.aspx
Don’t overload sockets, use one plug per socket and do not plug in adaptors into adapters.

Turn off and unplug electrical appliances when they are not being used, unless they are designed to be left on.

Check electrical leads and plugs for wear and tear or faulty wiring.  Frayed leads or exposed wires are a fire risk.

Electrical blankets must be checked regularly.  Look out for worn fabric, scorch marks, exposed elements and damp patches.  Store in a dry place and avoid creasing.  If in doubt, chuck it out.

Keep electrical leads, plugs and appliances away from water.

Cable reels should be fully unwound before use.

Prevent overheating – use the right fuse.

Never run cables under carpets and rugs.

Watch out for hot or scorched plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no reason or flickering lights.

Merseyside | Dangerous heating amnesty via Fire Support Network

Merseyside | 8 Feb 2012

An amnesty on dangerous heating is being launched by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service for the elderly in a bid to reduce house fires and deaths.

It will offer vulnerable pensioners the opportunity to swap their unsafe heaters for free oil-filled radiators at seven fire stations in Merseyside as part of the Dangerous Heating Exchange Scheme.

It is being delivered by Fire Support Network, the charitable arm of MF&RS, in conjunction with the fire service.

There are 140 free radiators available, which will only be given out to people who are aged 65 and over, who have an old out-dated heater. Each of the seven fire stations will have 20 to give away and they will be available on a first come first serve basis.

People can swap their old or unsafe heaters for new safer radiators at the following stations on the dates shown: Southport Fire Station, Monday, February 6; Crosby Fire Station on Tuesday, February 7; Toxteth Fire Station on Wednesday, February 8; Belle Vale Fire Station on Thursday, February 9; Huyton Fire Station on Friday, February 10; Birkenhead Fire Station on Monday, February 13 and St Helens Fire Station on Tuesday, February 14.

The radiators have been provided through partnerships with external companies such as Dimplex. It coincides with the MF&RS Emergency Heating Campaign, which is currently providing free radiators to homes of vulnerable people in Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton.

Phil Garrigan, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We are delighted to offer people the opportunity for vulnerable, elderly people to swap their unsafe heating methods for safer oil-filled radiators. Through the amnesty we aim to reduce fire deaths caused by dangerous heating and excess winter deaths resulting from cold conditions.”

People are warned that the radiators are heavy and they will need to provide their own transportation.

For more information about the scheme people can call 0151 296 4367 or email FSNEmergencyHeating@merseyfire.gov.uk.

Merseyside | Francesca Bimpson centre opens with assist from MFRS

The Shopping Village, Lansdowne Way, Huyton Village | 8 Feb 2012

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is helping a charity set up by the family of Francesca Bimpson who died following an arson attack on the family home.

The three-year-old was badly burned in the blaze on December 2, 2008. Her father Kieron Bimpson, her mother Eleanor Skelhorne and siblings escaped, but they could not help Francesca. She died in hospital, three weeks later, on December 23.

To keep their daughter’s memory alive, her family set up the Francesca Bimpson Foundation charity.

The charity has now opened its Francesca Bimpson Foundation Support and Resource Centre at The Shopping Village on Lansdowne Way, in Huyton Village.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will be working with the charity to raise awareness about the centre and the massive impact that death and serious injury from fire has on families and communities.

The centre provides a one-stop-shop of support aimed at helping victims of serious crime to rebuild their lives. It offers rehabilitation, respite, advice, guidance and counselling. As well as being decorated in Francesca’s favourite colour, Barbie pink, the centre also has a counselling area, named The Princess Suite, in her memory.

Her father Kieron said: “We found there was support in various areas but there was a lack of support for things like counselling. I wanted to prioritise victims of crime and put mechanisms in place to enable people to rebuild their lives. We have qualified counsellors and will have referrals from various organisations.”

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has remained in contact with the family since Francesca’s death and has given full support to the charity.

Kieron said: “I would like to thank Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service for getting involved. They have been an integral part of Francesca’s story and hopefully they will be an integral part of the future of the charity by raising awareness of arson and serious crime through fundraising events.
“If through Francesca’s name we can prevent another arson attack and save a person’s life it has been a successful campaign.”

Myles Platt, Area Manager for Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We fully support Francesca Bimpson’s family in setting up the charity and we will help in any way we can. We will work with the charity to raise awareness in the hope of preventing death and serious injury through deliberate fire setting.”

For information about the charity contact 07540 480 461, send an email to justice4francescabimpson@live.co.uk or visit the website at www.francescabimpsonfoundation.org.

Merseyside | A thousand CRASH Cards Given Out

Merseyside | 8 Feb 2012

A thousand special cards aimed at saving the lives of motorcyclists and cyclists injured in a crash have been handed out by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

The CRASH Card, which is kept in the rider’s helmet, gives emergency services details of their medical history and any medication they are taking.

A green dot is place on the outside of the helmet to tell emergency crews the road user has a card. It also offers advice to the person who dials 999.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is giving the cards out for free in a bid to reduce deaths on roads. They are available to all road users who wear helmets and since December the Service has given out a thousand cards to riders, motorcycle, cycling and horse riding groups, North West Ambulance Service and NHS organisations.

The scheme was rolled out to Merseyside by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service in December.

There were 1,426 people injured in motorbike collisions in Merseyside from 2005 to 2010. Of those, 407 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured on Merseyside roads.

Motorbike casualties have fallen in recent years and the number of people killed or seriously injured in motorbike accidents dropped from 90 in 2005 to 48 in 2010. However motorcyclists still account for 20% of those killed or seriously injured on roads and are 50 times more likely to die in crashes than car drivers.

Andy Shotton, MF&RS Motor Cycle Team Crew Manager, said: “The uptake of the CRASH Cards has been phenomenal. Motorcyclists and cyclists have been very keen to support the scheme, which can help save lives.”

Liverpool | Lord Mayor meets firefighters

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Training & Development Academy, Croxteth | 8 Feb 2012

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool took part in a training experience with firefighters from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Frank Prendergast, donned breathing apparatus and protective clothing to see firefighters from Crosby Community Fire Station and City Centre Community Fire Station tackle a blaze at the MF&RS Training and Development Academy in Croxteth.

It was all part of a training session on fire behaviour following a briefing on how fires can develop, which the Lord Mayor also listened to.

The Lord Mayor also used a hose as part of a practice session and played the part of a road traffic collision casualty. He sat in the driver seat of a car as firefighters from Formby Community Fire Station removed the doors and roof and carefully lifted him on to a stretcher.

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool said: “We all know and appreciate the challenges firefighters face when they are called to an emergency. However, it is not until you have seen the training that firefighters undertake that you really understand the problems and difficulties they face and the way an injured or trapped person might feel.

“You can see how this continual training is such an important part of the service to make sure those in need get the best possible service when they need it. The firefighters do a fine job and it was very nice to meet some of the crews today.”