Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Brighton firefighters tackle fire at tapas restaurant

Six appliances from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were sent to a Brighton restaurant after a commercial fryer caught fire.

The Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP), as well as the Incident Command Unit from Lewes, were also mobilised to deal with the fire at La Tasca yesterday morning (30th January) at 11.15am.

A fire in the restaurant's kitchen spread to an extraction unit and extraction chimney which ran up the full height of the six-storey building, causing heavy smoke logging in parts of the building. The residents of the thirty flats, as well as the restaurant staff, had self-evacuated.

Borough Commander Mark Rist said: "Firefighters used foam to extinguish the fire and main jets and hose reels were used on the extraction unit and ducting. The ALP was used as an observation platform as smoke was issuing from the extraction unit chimney when the Service arrived.

"Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using Thermal Image Cameras searched the building to ensure there was no fire spread, they used positive pressure ventilation fans to clear the smoke.

"The managing agent of the flats was able to supply master keys which enabled the firefighters to gain access for searching and ventilation."
No-one was injured in the fire.

Firefighters rescue pony stuck in dyke

Firefighters came to the rescue of a distressed pony stuck in a dyke at the weekend.
Two crews from Crowborough and one from Hailsham were called out to White Dyke Farm, in Mill Road, at 3.40pm on Sunday (29th January).

The crews were on hand until 5.20pm helping to free the pony and called for the assistance of a vet at the scene, as standard policy.

A firefighter from the Crowborough Animal Rescue Team said:
"There was a young girl riding her pony when they ended up in the dyke. She had managed to get out by the time we arrived but was understandably distressed. A passer-by had contacted the emergency services to alert them and Hailsham were already in attendance by the time we arrived. We attached a line to the horse's collar just to keep it above water and then did the usual thing of lifting the pony out with the crane.

"The young girl was very appreciative as a horse can be a much-loved pet and often feels like a member of the family.

"We always advise horse owners to fence off any ponds nearby the animal's field, but on this occasion it was just bad luck."

Monday, 30 January 2012

Weekend round-up

Toaster fire

Hove firefighters were called out after a toaster caught fire at a property in Portslade yesterday (Sunday 29th January) tea-time.

Two crews were sent to the incident in Graham Avenue, Mile Oak, at 6.13pm and an ambulance was called to the scene as a precautionary measure after a 97-year-old man breathed in smoke. A Home Safety Visit was then carried out by crews at the flat.

Dallington Road Traffic Collision

Also yesterday, Heathfield and Burwash firefighters were called to a road traffic collision yesterday at Three Cups, Dallington, at 4.45pm.

Group Commander Nigel Cusack said: "A single vehicle involved had come to rest in a precarious position resting on its nose supported by a dense privet hedge. The occupant carried out a self-rescue and escaped the vehicle, and was subsequently checked out by paramedics on scene. The occupant was a male, believed to be in his early twenties.
"Fire crews assisted the Police by making the scene safe and returned the vehicle to a stable position, before the road could be opened again."

Eastbourne road traffic collision

Firefighters attended a road traffic collision in Old Town, Eastbourne, on Friday (January 27th).

Two crews were called to the incident at 9.52am after reports of one person trapped inside a vehicle, which had ended up on its side.

Firefighters freed the man and set about making the area safe and moving the vehicle into an upright position. Both the Highways Agency and Environmental Health were called upon as petrol had spilt from the vehicle. Crews left the scene at 10.14am.

Overcooked food

Overcooked food sparked a fire at a property in Whitehawk Road, Brighton, on Friday afternoon at 12.57pm.

Three crews from Brighton attended and thankfully no-one was injured and firefighters left at 1.08pm.

Fire in cavity wall

Rye and Broad Oak firefighters attended a fire reported in the third floor boiler room at Rye Lodge, Hilders Cliff, Rye, on Friday (27th January) at 11.17am. Crews tackled the fire and used equipment to cut away the cavity wall, ensuring the fire had not spread. Fortunately, no-one was injured and the crews left at 12.17pm.

Rotherfield fire

A man was treated after breathing in smoke at the scene of a fire in Rotherfield.
Three crews from Crowborough and Uckfield were sent to the incident in Station Road on Saturday (28th January) at 3.32pm.

The accidental fire was located in the wall cavity on the first-floor of the property and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used one hose reel jet to tackle the fire and a Positive Pressure Ventilation Fan was used to blow the smoke from the building. Firefighters cut away parts of the wall to ensure the fire had not spread.

Chimney fires warning to homeowners

East Sussex firefighters were called out to two separate chimney fires on Saturday night (28th January).

The first broke out at 9.54am in Cousley Wood, where two crews from Wadhurst attended and a 'chimney kit' was used to put out the fire. Re-inspections were carried out throughout the morning until firefighters were happy with the situation and the incident was closed at 1.06pm. A Home Safety Visit was carried out at the property to ensure that residents were given important and helpful advice on how to keep safe in their home.

Meanwhile, over in Chailey another chimney fire broke out on the same day at 11pm at a property in Mill Brooks. Barcombe firefighters were called to the fire, which they tackled with the use of a 'chimney kit'. The incident involved crews working on the roof with the use of a ladder and one hose reel jet to tackle the flames. Firefighters left the scene at 00.16am. Fortunately, no-one was injured.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind residents about the importance of sweeping their chimney on a regular basis.
Using a chimney sweep will:
  • Eliminate the build-up of soot.
  • Clear blockages which could result in fumes entering the room and causing drowsiness and, potentially, asphyxiation.
  • Provide valuable advice on any remedial work that may be necessary.
  • Help prevent chimney fires.

Be prepared in the event of a fire

Preparing and practising a plan of action will help you act quickly if there's a fire in your home.

You are more than twice as likely to die in a fire at home if you haven't got a working smoke alarm.

A smoke alarm is the easiest way to alert you to the danger of fire, giving you time to escape.

They are cheap, easy to get hold of and easy to fit. Make sure you test it weekly - it could save your life.

Make an escape plan:

Make an escape plan, explain it to everyone in the household and practise it
When you make an escape plan, involve everyone who lives in your home, including children, older or disabled people and any lodgers.

Choosing an escape route:

Here are some tips to help plan your escape from fire:
  • the best escape route is often the normal way in and out of your home
  • think of any difficulties you may have getting out, e.g. at night you may need to have a torch to light your way
  • choose a second escape route, in case the first one is blocked
  • keep all exits clear of obstructions, like bicycles
  • if there are children, older or disabled people or pets, plan how you will get them out

Think about a safe place to go if you can't escape:

The first priority is to keep people safe by getting them out of the building. If you can't escape, you'll need to find a room to take refuge in.
This is especially important if you have difficulty moving around or going downstairs on your own.
If you can't get out, get everyone into one room:
  • choose a room with a window
  • if you can put cushions, towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block smoke
  • open the window and call for help
  • think about which room might be best for this - you need a window that can be opened and, if possible, a phone for calling 999

Make sure everyone knows where door and window keys are kept:

Decide where the keys to doors and windows should be kept and always keep them there. Make sure everyone in your household knows where they are.

Explain the plan:

Once you have made your plan, go through it with everyone in the household.
You could also:
  • put a reminder of what to do in a fire somewhere where it will be seen regularly, like on the fridge door
  • put your address by the phone so that children can read it out to the emergency services

Practise the plan:

Make sure you have 'walked through' the plan with everyone in your household. Regularly remind everyone of what to do, and what not to do, in the event of a fire.
See What to do if there is a fire' for more information about escaping from a fire.

Do a bedtime check - develop the habit:

When you are asleep, it takes longer to notice the signs of a fire. If you don't have a working smoke alarm, there will be nothing to wake you.
To help prevent fires occurring through the night, it's important to check your home for fire hazards before you go to bed. Make sure you:
  • check the cooker is turned off
  • turn off and unplug electrical appliances (unless they are meant to be left on, like your freezer)
  • put candles and cigarettes out properly
  • turn heaters off and put up fireguards
  • make sure exits are kept clear
  • close inside doors at night to stop a fire from spreading

Keep your guests safe from fire:

Your family or housemates may be familiar with your house or flat, but your guests may not be. If you have guests staying overnight:
  • tell them where the keys are kept
  • give them information about anything in the house they may not be familiar with, like how to unlock your front door
It's particularly important to provide some fire safety information if you are hosting a party and people are drinking alcohol.
Also, the risk of fire during celebrations may be higher from candles, cooking and cigarettes.

Escaping from a high-rise building:

Living above the first floor doesn't necessarily make you any more at risk from fire.
High-rise flats are built to be fire-proof - walls, ceilings and doors will hold back flames and smoke.
Most of your planning should be the same as homes at ground level, but there are some key differences:
  • you won't be able to use the lift if there's a fire, so choose an escape route that takes this into account
  • count how many doors there are on the route to get to the stairs when you can't use the lift, in case you can't find your way
  • make sure stairways and fire escapes are kept clear of all obstructions and that fire doors are never locked
  • regularly check that you can open the doors to stairways or escapes from both sides
If there's a fire elsewhere in the building, you are usually safest in your own flat, unless heat or smoke is affecting you.
If you are affected, you should get out, stay out and call 999.

What to do if there's a fire:

If there's a fire, you need to act quickly. Make sure you are prepared and that everyone in your house knows exactly what to do.

Alert everyone:

Make sure everyone in the house knows about the fire - shout and get everyone together.

Get everyone out:

You should have an escape route planned that everyone in your house is familiar with. If you don't have one already, see 'Planning a safe escape' for information on how to make an escape plan for your home. As you escape, remember:
  • don't delay to save valuables or look for pets
  • don't investigate the fire
  • crawl on the floor if there's smoke - the air is cleaner near the floor
  • on the floor, put your nose as low as possible - remember, smoke is toxic and can kill you
  • as you go out, only open the doors you need to and close any open doors you can to slow the spread of the fire
  • feel doors with the back of your hand before you open them, if they're warm, don't open them - the fire is on the other side
  • if you're escaping with others, stay together if you can

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Keeping local students safe

Sussex University recently held a housing fair, aimed at students looking for advice on rental accommodation. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended the event, offering fire safety advice to students who are looking to move into rental properties. 

People living in rented or shared accommodation are more likely to have a fire so it's important you have a working smoke alarm and check it regularly.

Fitting a smoke alarm is the simplest step that can be taken to reduce the risk of being caught in a fire. Smoke alarms cost around £5; and if you fit one as a tenant you can take it with you when you move.

If you live in privately rented accommodation, your landlord has to meet certain safety obligations by law. This includes making sure all gas and electric appliances are safe and in good working order.

Gas appliances must be checked by a registered Gas Safe engineer every year and electrical appliances must carry the British Safety Standard sign. It is important that you are shown safety certificates so you can see when gas and electrical appliances were last checked.

Your landlord must also ensure furnishings are fire resistant and meet safety regulations.

If you are worried that your landlord isn't doing enough to ensure your safety, contact the environmental health officer at your local council for advice. You can find their contact details at www.direct.gov.uk