Friday, 30 March 2012

Reducing the risk of wildfire

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) is urging members of the public to take care during this current spell of dry weather as every year fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats.

Alex Bennett, CFOA Lead on Wildfire said: “We are currently experiencing some delightful weather and it is only natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends but it is also important to stay fire-aware when out and about.

“With the dry weather set to continue into the Easter Holiday period we are asking the public to be vigilant and by following these few simple steps we can all help to reduce the chance of a wildfire, he added:”

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly; don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows.
  • Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals.
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately by dialling 999. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident. 
  • Landowners and Land Managers are also advised, where possible, to ensure that fire breaks are cut and well maintained with any cut grasses and vegetation removed from the site.

Steve Wight, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Community Safety Team Leader, added: “We would also ask people to be extra cautious when lighting barbeques and bonfires. If you must have an open fire, please follow this safety advice:”

  • Only use barbeques in a suitable and safe area, never leave them unattended.
  • Never use petrol, it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only use approved lighting fuels.
  • Make sure it is downwind and at least 10 metres away from any buildings or structures.
  • Clear dry vegetation, such as leaves, to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Never leave fires unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished after use.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Safeguarding local people through partnership working

Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI)is working in partnership with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) and become members of the Care Providers Fire Safety Scheme.
ESFRS has been making people safer in their homes for many years by giving fire safety guidance and fitting free smoke alarms in order to meet an annual target of 10,000 home safety visits. 

"Our clients can be at a higher risk from fire," said Mike Pattinson, Operations Director for CRI. "By working with our local Fire and Rescue Service we can raise awareness and help ensure the safety of local residents." 

"This is a wonderful opportunity for us to work in partnership," said Andy Reynolds, Director of Prevention and Protection for ESFRS. "I am delighted to be able to sponsor the lockable medication boxes to show our commitment to make the partnership work and to be effective. 

"Both services are working with the same target audience and through closer working and distribution of the boxes I am hopeful that a joint home safety visit will make people safer in their homes and reduce their vulnerability to fire." 

CRI has also utilised the partnership to ensure the Substance Misuse Service Team has received free fire safety awareness training to enable them to identify early dangers and to refer them to ESFRS.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Firefighters tackle gorse fire in Hastings Old Town

A gorse fire in Hastings Old Town is being treated as deliberate.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received numerous calls informing them of the fire at High Wickham yesterday morning (25th March) at 11.50am.

Two crews used one hose reel and two flexpacks (portable water supplies carried on a firefighter’s back) to tackle the fire and remained at the scene in High Wickham until 1.20pm damping down and ensuring that the fire was out.

Hailsham Horse Rescue

Firefighters spent two hours rescuing a horse which became stuck in heavy mud.

Four crews attended the incident at 11.13am in White Dyke Road, Hailsham, including the specialist animal rescue unit from Crowborough.

The Arab gelding horse became trapped whilst being ridden last Friday morning (23rd March).

The female rider contacted East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service who managed to rescue the horse successfully and left the scene at 1.04pm.

Firefighters tackle gorse fire at Chelwood Gate

Firefighters were called out to tackle a gorse fire next to the Cricket Ground in Chelwood Gate over the weekend.

Seven appliances from Forest Row, Uckfield, Heathfield and Crowborough attended the scene, including three specialist Land Rover Pump Appliances.

The Land Rover is fitted with a water tank and pump, hoses and equipment to be able to cope with most small rural fires.

The Water Carrier, based at Uckfield, also attended the fire on Saturday (24th March) at 2.42pm and crews finally left the scene at 7.53pm. West Sussex crews also attended the fire which involved two hectares of forest alight. Hose reels and beaters were used to fight back the flames and get the situation under control.

Forest rangers were on the scene and provided advice to the crews tackling the fire. A re-inspection took place later in the evening and the incident was closed. The cause of the fire at this stage is unknown.

Public sector building projects – South East contractors invited to apply

East Sussex County Council, on behalf of the Sussex Cluster of contracting authorities, (to which we, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service belong), is inviting firms and businesses in the South East to be part of a ‘Construction Framework’ of approved contractors - and be in with a chance of gaining a slice of a multi-million pound public sector building programme. 

Our website,, for updates including confirmation of the date of issue for the OJEU Notice in early/mid April 2012.

Contractors are invited to apply for inclusion on the framework that will enable them to bid for individual contracts worth up to a nominal £5 million pounds in value.  The framework will be used to procure and deliver works for public sector contracting authorities across Sussex and other named areas from February 2013 for a 4 year period to February 2017. 

The Framework programme covers over 20 Sussex authorities, known as the ‘Sussex Cluster’.  The work – which will involve new build, extensions, maintenance and refurbishment – may be carried out on any public contracting authority property including schools and other educational buildings, libraries, flood defence and civil engineering works, emergency service buildings, care homes, museums, leisure facilities, seafront properties, listed/heritage buildings and hospitals/NHS buildings.

The aims of the Framework include helping small and medium sized businesses in Sussex to be in with a chance of winning work by making the process simpler, and also to help Sussex Councils and other public sector organisations to share contracts and expertise and save taxpayers money.

The first stage in the application process is for contractors to complete a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ).  Contractors will be able to apply for three framework lots based upon the value of works – Tier 2 (contracts nominally worth between £750,000 and £5 million), Tier 3 (£150,000- £750,000) and Tier 4 (£0 - £150,000). 

To apply contractors should download the PQQ documents that will be available online at

PQQs will need to be returned by end May 2012.  Successful applicants will be invited to Tender in August 2012 with return due in October.  Contractors will be informed if they have been successful by the end of this year and those selected for the framework will be invited to attend a series of framework start up workshops in early 2013.

Should you have any comments on the above please send them by email to the following email address by 31 March 2012 – all comments will be tabled at the Steering Group meeting 5 April 2012 prior to the issue of the OJEU Notice.

Comments and enquiries should be directed to


The Sussex Cluster currently consists of: Adur District Council; Arun District Council; Brighton & Hove City Council; Chichester District Council; Crawley Borough Council; Eastbourne Borough Council; East Sussex County Council; East Sussex Fire & Rescue Authority; Hastings Borough Council; Horsham District Council; Lewes District Council; Mid Sussex District Council; Rother District Council; Saxon Weald Homes Ltd; Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust; Sussex Police Authority; University of Brighton; University of Sussex; Wealden District Council; West Sussex County Council; and Worthing Borough Council.

Firefighters re-inspect scene of fire at Ashdown Forest

A re-inspection will take place this morning following a large fire at Ashdown Forest over the weekend.

Crews remained on the scene until 6am when the stop message came in and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service will meet with forest rangers to discuss the situation.

Sixteen fire engines and six Land Rover pumps were used to tackle the fire yesterday afternoon (Sunday March 25th).

The Service was assisted by West Sussex as well as Kent Fire & Rescue Services.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and under investigation.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind the public the importance of taking care in the countryside:

Forest Safety Advice:

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly and don't throw cigarette ends on the ground
  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside - check local bylaws.
  • Don't leave bottles or glass in woodland - sunlight shining through glass can start fires.
  • Take your rubbish home with you or use waste bins.
  • Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended - check local bylaws before use.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the Fire and Rescue Service immediately
  • Don't attempt to tackle fires that can't be put out quickly and easily with a bucket of water - leave the area as soon as possible.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Large fire at Ashdown Forest

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has been fighting a large fire at Ashdown Forest this afternoon (Sunday March 25th).

The initial call was received at 1.45pm and the first crew arrived at the scene at 1.58pm. The fire is located in the Kings Standing area of the forest across an area of about 28 hectares. Sixteen fire engines and six Land Rover pumps have been used to tackle the blaze.

The Service was assisted by West Sussex and Kent Fire & Rescue Services, with crews mobilised from across East Sussex.

There are not thought to be any injuries but the Ambulance Service is attending as a precautionary measure. Sussex Police motorcyclists and Ashdown Forest Rangers are patrolling the area and a number of roads within the forest have been closed as a precaution.

The fire was declared as surrounded at 5.10pm and is now under control. The cause of the fire at this stage is unknown and is being investigated.

The Incident Commander, Adrian Brown, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said:

“This fire has devastated a large area of heathland and natural habitat, which is of importance for nesting birds. In this dry weather we’d like to again remind members of the public to take care in the countryside. This is the second fire we have had to attend in Ashdown Forest this weekend.”

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Fatal fire in Bexhill

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received an emergency call at 12.24pm on Thursday 22nd March, outlining a fire in Crowmere Avenue, Bexhill. A person was reported to be in the property.  

Two fire appliances from Bexhill and one fire appliance from Bohemia Road, Hastings were immediately dispatched to the scene. A fire appliance from Bexhill was booked in attendance on the scene within four minutes of the emergency call being received.

Crews reported smoke issuing from the property on arrival. Firefighters used two breathing apparatus and one hose reel jet, which went up to four breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets to perform search and rescue and tackle the fire on the ground floor of the property.

Tragically, it was confirmed that one female casualty had died at the scene.

The Incident Commander, Graham Hobden, said: “This is a really tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.”

Tackling arson attacks in Burwash

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Battle's Neighbourhood Policing Team will be giving fire safety and crime prevention advice to residents of the St Annes Green area, Burwash, between 3.00pm and 5.00pm on Friday 23rd March. 

These visits follow an incident that occurred on Friday 16th March, where just after 11:30pm a fire was reported to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Sussex Police. 

The fire, currently being treated as arson, badly damaged the porch of an empty bungalow in St Annes Green, Burwash. Forensic examination has confirmed that the fire was started deliberately and detectives are currently investigating.

Tony McCord, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Rother Borough Commander, said: 
"Following a spate of deliberate fires in the Burwash area, Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service are working together to target affected areas and raise awareness of safety issues to local residents. 

Firefighters and Police Officers will be visiting local homes and offering targeted fire safety and crime prevention advice."

Detective Constable Barry Chandler said: "Although nobody was hurt, this is a semi-detached bungalow and the fire might have spread. In fact, the next door neighbour's house was filled with smoke and she was alerted to the fire by another neighbour.

"This is the third such fire in the immediate area over the past two months. The other fires in January were also in St Annes Green and on one occasion the resident was inside the property at the time. Clearly those people committing these acts of wanton damage have no regard for the lives they are putting at risk.

"It is likely the offenders are living in the area and we are appealing to any local residents who may have heard any information that will assist in identifying those responsible."

Anyone who has information about the fires is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 1793 of 16/03 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Firefighters tackle large Hastings gorse blaze

On 21st March, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received a total of 97 calls regarding a fire in the open in the East Hill area of Hastings.

The initial call was received at 5.04pm and a fire appliance and a Land Rover from The Ridge, Hastings, were immediately dispatched to Tackleway, Old Town, Hastings.

Upon arrival, crews established a very large area of gorse was well alight and two further fire appliances from Bohemia Road, Hastings and Bexhill were sent, along with one Land Rover from Heathfield.

Firefighters tackled the fire using Land Rovers, a ground monitor, three main jets and one hose reel and 1:7 foam. One further appliance was dispatched from Rye.

A cordoned area was established at the scene and a number of properties in the All Saints Street and Tackleway areas of the Old Town were evacuated as a precaution.

The fire was surrounded by 6.17pm and was allowed to burn in controlled circumstances with crews visiting the scene overnight and in the early hours of the morning. Firefighters revisited the scene again in the morning to damp down the area.

Paul Way, Incident Commander, said: “The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Protracted incidents of this nature require specialist resources for a long period of time and firefighters work in extremely difficult and arduous conditions.

“In the current dry climate, ground conditions are extremely vulnerable to ignition sources. Once started, a small fire can develop rapidly, spreading over a large area. I would like to remind people to take extra care when enjoying the countryside.”

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offers the following advice to enjoy the countryside safely:

  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe, designated areas. 
  • Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home and put them in a recycling bin.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Road traffic collision in Hampden Park, Eastbourne

On 20th March, crews responded to a call from South East Coast Ambulance Service, requesting assistance at a road traffic collision in Hampden Park, Eastbourne, where a car had driven into a shop front.  

Two fire appliances from Eastbourne and Pevensey were immediately dispatched to the scene, along with a technical rescue unit from Battle and a support vehicle.

When firefighters arrived, the person involved in the collision had been released from the vehicle by ambulance crews. Firefighters made the vehicle safe and requested the attendance of a building control officer to check the building was structurally sound.