Friday, 29 June 2012

Children rescued from Brighton flat fire

Three children were rescued from a flat fire in Brighton last night (Thursday June 28th).

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received a call reporting the fire and people being trapped at 9.13pm, with the first fire crew arriving at the scene in Clarence Square at 9.17pm. Crews from Preston Circus and Hove fire stations, using four fire engines and an Aerial Ladder Platform, were sent to deal with the situation.

Five police officers had already gone into the building to attempt to rescue the occupants but were unable to do so because of the effects of smoke inhalation. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus went into the top floor flat and brought out the three occupants, a boy aged four, and a girl and boy, both aged 14.

The three children and the five police officers, a Sergeant and four Constables, were treated at the Royal Sussex County Hospital for the effects of smoke inhalation. None of the firefighters were injured or required any treatment.

The cause of the fire, which was confined to the flat, has been investigated and is not being treated as suspicious. It is believed it may have started accidentally. The fire was declared as under control at 10.28pm.

Inspector Richard Delacour, Sussex Police, said: "Police and firefighters worked successfully together to ensure that the three were brought to safety and that nobody else was endangered."

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Annual Awards Ceremony

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service hosted its annual Award Ceremony at Service Headquarters on Friday 15th June.

Uniformed and support staff from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service received recognition for long and meritorious service at the Annual Awards Ceremony, which was held at HQ on 10th June.

The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field, presented, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, The Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal to operational staff. The recipients were both full-time and retained, who have served for twenty years and whose character and conduct have been exceptional.

The Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Jennifer AllenStation Manager - Special Projects Officer, HQ
Jonathan BakerCrew Manager, Battle
Robert BeardWatch Manager, Crowborough
Alan BirtwistleCrew Manager, Eastbourne
Andrew BuchananFirefighter, Roedean
Alastair BurtonFirefighter, Hailsham
Kevin CliftFirefighter, Uckfield
Garry CollinsGroup Manager - Borough Commander, Lewes
Colin ConwayFirefighter, Bohemia Road, Hastings
Matthew DaleFirefighter, Hove
Yannick DuboisWatch Manager, Technical Fire Safety, Hove
Maxwell GilbertCrew Manager, Bohemia Road, Hastings
Matthew JonesFirefighter, Eastbourne
Duncan KelsallStation Manager - Water & Logistics Officer, HQ
Stephen LewisWatch Manager - Technical Fire Safety, Uckfield
Robin MartinWatch Manager, Lewes/Temp Station Manager, Hove
Lee MephamWatch Manager, Bohemia Road, Hastings
Simon NeillWatch Manager - Training Instructor, STC
Mark O'BrienGroup Manager - Head of L&D/Temp Area Manager, HQ
Antony RoseCrew Manager, Eastbourne
Neil SalmonFirefighter, Lewes
Andrew UptonWatch Manager, Bexhill
Matthew WardFirefighter, Bexhill

The East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service medal was also presented to staff. This medal was introduced in May 2001 and was awarded by the Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, Des Prichard, to support staff who have completed twenty years loyal and good service accumulated within Local Authority and Rescue Service(s) and uniformed staff who have completed thirty years loyal and good service within Local Authority Fire and Rescue Service(s).

The East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Medal

Timothy AustinWatch Manager - Training Instructor, STC
Grant EagerWatch Manager, Preston Circus
David GilesFirefighter, Rye
Brendan HobdenCrew Manager, Herstmonceux
Mark HodiakFirefighter, Hove
Neil PostRetired Firefighter, Herstmonceux
Raymond ReadFirefighter, Uckfield
Wendy RobertsProcurement Administrator, HQ
Patrick ScottRetired Group Manager - Head of Technical Fire Safety, HQ
Martin SmithRetired Firefighter, Hove
Michael TaylorWatch Manager, Battle
Gail TownsendCook, Roedean

Another award presented during the ceremony was the Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive's Commendation. This is a framed certificate presented by the Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive for significant contribution to the survival and/or rescue of people in extreme danger or at risk of loss of life.

This award was presented to Firefighter, Kieran Wood and Crew Manager, Vince O’Neill, after their quick interventions and knowledge of first aid helped to save a man who had collapsed unconscious in the road on 16th July 2011.

When they found him, the casualty was not breathing and had no pulse. Kieran and Vince provided CPR until the arrival of the paramedics and continued to assist the paramedics whilst setting up the defibrillator. Thankfully, the casualty made a full recovery and returned home from hospital on 4th August 2011.

Chief Fire Officer & Chief Executive's Commendation

Kieran WoodFirefighter, Newhaven
Vince O'NeillCrew Manager, Newhaven/Temp Watch Manager, Eastbourne

The final award presented during the evening was the Community Safety Award. This is a framed Certificate of Excellence presented by the Chairman of the Fire Authority, Cllr. John Livings.

This award can be made to a member or group of members of the Service, someone from outside of the organisation or a group/company known to have been involved in an initiative which has had a significant impact on the community.

This award was presented to Adam Chugg, 3VA, who accepted it alongside his colleague Claire Harris, both of whom have been instrumental in the Community Volunteer’s scheme, which has had a very positive impact within our communities.

Thanks to the experience 3VA brought to this project, there are now over 60 East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Community Volunteers.  

Community Safety Award

Adam Chugg, 3VA Volunteer Project, Uckfield

Be safe in the kitchen

Eastbourne’s firefighters are concerned with a recent increase in accidental fires starting at home in the kitchen with many related to cooking where people are not paying attention or they leave things unattended.

Eastbourne Borough Commander, Dave Sheppard, said: “In the last 12 months we have seen a significant increase in fires starting accidentally in the home. A particular worry is around fires starting whilst people are cooking in the kitchen and becoming distracted, particularly pensioners living alone and parents with young families.”

There are some very simple guidelines that people can follow which are routinely communicated to householders by Eastbourne’s Community Safety Team, which comprises of Chris Guy, Kate Graham and Jo Erridge.

Chris Guy said: “There are several things you can do to prevent fires in the kitchen. Make sure you don’t get distracted when you are cooking and follow the advice outlined below:”

  • Take pans off the heat or turn the heat down if you're called away from the cooker, e.g. by a phone call
  • Take care if you’re wearing loose clothing as it can catch fire easily
  • Don't cook if you have been drinking alcohol or taken prescription drugs - you may get drowsy or lose concentration
  • Turn saucepans so the handles don't stick out over the edge of the hob or over another ring
  • Double check that the cooker is off when you have finished cooking
  • Make sure tea-towels aren’t hanging over the cooker and don't put oven gloves on top of a hot cooker
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean. Built-up fat and bits of food can start a fire
  • If you are likely to be distracted or forgetful use a kitchen timer to remind you when your food will be ready

Kate Graham added: “‘Also make sure that you have a working smoke alarm fitted in your home as they really do save lives. A working smoke alarm is essential in giving you a warning that there is a problem but it is no use if it isn’t working, so check it regularly and replace the battery every year.”

Should the worst case scenario happen and a fire occurs in your home don’t panic, simply follow the guidance below:

  • Don't move the pan because it will be very hot
  • Turn off the heat if it's safe to do so - don’t lean over the pan to reach the controls
  • Don’t use a fire extinguisher on a pan of oil because the force of the extinguisher can spread the fire
  • Never use water on chip pan fires as this will cause a fireball
  • Get out, stay out and call 999

Dave Sheppard continued: “In the event of a fire, get everyone out of the house, stay out and call 999, our operational crews will respond immediately to help you. Our mobilising centre will even give you advice over the phone to make sure that everyone is safe.”

The specialist community safety team in Eastbourne, based at the community fire station in Whitley Road, offers free Home Safety Visits and advice on fire safety in the home.

Simply call Freephone 0800 177 7069 to see if you are eligible for free personalised home safety advice, smoke alarm checks and expert help with fitting if you need more, or new, smoke alarms.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Newhaven fire station throws open their doors to local community

If you’re wondering what to do with the family this weekend, why not go along to Newhaven fire stations Open Day on Saturday 30thJune, 11.00am – 3.00pm.

Children will be able to have a good look around fire engines and other emergency vehicles as well as trying out using a hose to put out a mock fire!

There will be lots of demonstrations throughout the day showcasing extrication and rescue demonstrations, along with old fire engines from days gone by.

Visitors to the station will also be able to wear simulated breathing apparatus and search for a casualty and try out the world famous blue light simulator to experience driving to a call on blue lights.

Firefighter, Bernie Botwright, said: “Newhaven firefighters have organised lots of displays and demonstrations throughout the Open Day and we're really looking forward to meeting our local community and welcoming people to the station. It will be a great day out for the whole family."

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Fire Service assist at four-vehicle collision

Brighton firefighters helped at the scene of a four vehicle road traffic collision by evacuating passengers from a bus.

Two fire engines attended the incident yesterday (25th July) at Preston Park, Preston Road, after the emergency 999 call came in at 2.42pm and crews remained there until 3.54pm.

Emergency Services worked alongside each other following the multiple collision, resulting in around six people being taken to hospital with various injuries, none which were thought to be life threatening.

Grant Eager Watch Commander said: “We were the first emergency service at the scene and were helping with the injured and looking after the casualties on the side of the road. We identified those who were injured and treated them with oxygen therapy, as well as first aid. We were also assisted by a nurse from the nearby NHS clinic and were treating those who were suffering from shock.”

Drivers were advised to stay away from the scene of the collision as Preston Road was closed both ends whilst vehicles were recovered.

The exact circumstances of the collision are still being investigated but it is thought a bus, taxi and a people carrier were in collision with one another.

Crews remained on the scene to make the area safe for the public and used environmental packs to mop-up any fuel spillage.

Technical rescue for man trapped in car

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) was called in to help a man who became trapped in his car after it was in collision with a garage wall in Peacehaven.

Three fire engines and two Technical Rescue Units attended the incident in Mitchelldean, near Heathy Brow, yesterday (25th June) at 2.29pm and remained at the scene until 4.04pm.

The TRU is a dedicated vehicle designed and equipped to provide specialist assistance at Road Traffic Collisions, Incidents involving Commercial Vehicles, Aircraft or Trains, Building Collapse, Trench Collapse etc. It also attends incidents requiring specialist Environmental Protection equipment. It’s manned by a dedicated, specialist team of experts.

Watch Manager Richard Harrison said:

“The man was physically trapped by the fact that his car had gone through the wall and he couldn’t get out through the doors of the car. Paramedics assessed him to make sure he was ok physically, as he could not climb out of the car himself.

“We made space in the vehicle by removing a couple of the back seats and placed him on a spinal board and took him out of the car through the hatch at the back.”

The casualty was taken off to hospital and the TRU crew set about making the garage safe by shoring up the wall.

Cow rescue

A cow had to be rescued from a ditch in Buxted after getting stuck.

Crowborough and Uckfield crews attended the incident yesterday (25th June) afternoon at 1.59pm and remained at the scene until 5.28pm.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s specialist Animal Rescue Unit was on hand to winch the cow to freedom and a vet was requested to attend.

The rescue proved to be difficult access for the crews as the cow was stuck in a muddy stream surrounded by banks.

Seaford’s Open Day is a huge hit with families

Seaford community fire station’s Open Day was hailed a huge success as local families descended on the station to meet their local heroes and find out more about what’s involved in modern day firefighting and extrication techniques.   

The Open Day was held on Saturday 23rd June and luckily the weather held out, allowing for a host of extremely excited children to have a good look around fire engines and pretend to be firefighters!

There were dramatic rescue demonstrations, which involved a mock casualty being rescued from a smoke-filled drill tower along with extrication exercises.

A huge range of equipment was on display along with the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s fire bike, Aerial Ladder Platform and rope rescue team.

The station’s crews met members of the public and offered them valuable safety advice, alongside both Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service.

The Chairman of the Fire Authority, John Livings, said: “Well done to everyone involved in making this Open Day such a success. I am always impressed by the enthusiasm and energy displayed by our staff at these events and it is a fantastic opportunity to engage with the community we serve and to demonstrate the wide range of preventative work the Service undertakes.”

Garry Collins, Lewes Borough commander, said: “I would like to say a special thank you to Dave Reed, Watch Manager at Seaford and his team, who worked extremely hard organising the Open Day. It was extremely pleasing to see so many local families at the event.

“I would also like to thank Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance for their involvement and teamwork throughout the Open Day.”

Monday, 25 June 2012

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service warning to get out, stay out and call 999

As summer approaches and Britain gets into gear for celebrations, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is joining other fire and rescue services across the nation in asking people to make sure their family, guests and loved ones know how to get out, stay out, and call 999 in the event of a fire.

A smoke alarm can give people the warning they need to get out of their home in a fire, but a blocked exit, locked door or unfamiliar surroundings can often shave vital seconds from their escape time, exposing them to the fatal dangers of toxic smoke.

Some simple steps and a clear escape plan in the event of a fire will help ensure that everyone can get out, stay out and call 999:

  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly. A working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time in a fire.
  • Prepare and practise a plan of action to help you act quickly if there’s a fire in your home.
  • Keep your escape route clear to ensure a speedy exit. 
  • Make sure everyone knows where the door and window keys are kept.
More than 400 children under 18 were injured and 4 killed in fires in the home.
Last year, and around seventy percent of older people overestimate their ability to escape a fire in the home. If you have a dependant to think about:

  • Make sure you’ve planned an escape route and think of any difficulties people may have getting out and help they may need, such as a torch to light their way or a stair rail.
  • Consider the best place to go if the worst happens and someone can’t escape, especially if they have trouble moving around or can’t get downstairs on their own.
  • Nominate someone in your home (perhaps a child) to be the ‘Escape champ’ - Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.
Steve Wright, Community Safety Team Manager, said:

“We all love a good get-together when the weather picks up, but if you’re having guests round this summer, there’s no need to leave them in the dark when it comes to safety. Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke could leave you unconscious, so every second counts when escaping a fire and a working smoke alarm and knowing the escape plan in an emergency could make all the difference.

“If you have dependants or someone less able to care for, it could take more time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure you’re always prepared, your exits are clear and everyone knows what to do if the worst should happen.”

To find out more fire safety information, please visit

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Road traffic collision on A271, Magham Down

On 20th June at 12.02pm, the Mobilising and Communication Centre received a call from the Ambulance Service regarding a road traffic collision on the A271, Magham Down, involving one small commercial vehicle and one private vehicle with three people trapped.

One fire engine from Hailsham and one from Herstmonceux were immediately dispatched to the scene. On arrival crews extricated the casualties who were taken to hospital by Ambulance. All persons were released by 12.58pm.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Man winched to safety in dramatic rescue at Beachy Head

A major operation was launched to rescue a man who became trapped after his car went over the edge of a cliff at Beachy Head.

The Fire Service’s Technical Rescue Units were sent, along with four fire engines and an Aerial Ladder Platform, after the emergency call came in to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Mobilising and Communication Centre at 9.55pm last night (18th June).

Crew Commander David Nichols explained that crews had to act quickly at this fast-paced incident. Factors which had to be considered at the scene included a rapidly rising tide and the safety of both the casualty and the emergency services, who worked closely together from the moment they arrived at the scene.

David said: “We checked the tide times en route and knew that it was coming in and were told that it would be high tide at 11.30pm. When we arrived at the scene we went to the cliff’s edge and could see the car on the beach on its roof.

“The ambulance crew were treating the casualty and the water line was around three metres behind the vehicle, which put pressure on us to get the casualty out fast. When we arrived on the shoreline we were told by the paramedics that they wanted the casualty out quickly. He was on oxygen and conscious as we dug away some of the pebble next to one of the side windows. We were speaking to the gentleman all the time and managed to get him out via the side window.

“Ambulance crews stabilised him on the beach where a coastguard team set-up a recovery stretcher. The casualty was then winched up the cliff and taken away to hospital by ambulance.”

Once the casualty had been safely removed from the beach the Technical Rescue Unit crew from Lewes were tasked with job of moving the vehicle further up the beach, away from the rising tide, so that it could then be recovered by the police.

Crew Commander Nichols added: “All the emergency services worked extremely well together in this dynamic situation. Everyone got heavily involved with the rescue and recovery, resulting in the successful conclusion of the casualty being airlifted to hospital.”