Monday, 29 October 2012

Crews attend Eastbourne RTC

Firefighters from Eastbourne and Pevensey Community fire stations attended a road traffic collision in Eastbourne on Saturday (27th October).

Three fire engines attended the incident and crews worked alongside paramedics to free one person from the wreckage. They used a spinal board to carry the injured person to the ambulance.

The two vehicle collision took place along Whitley Road, Eastbourne, at 7.33pm and crews remained at the scene until 7.54pm making the area safe.

Three people were taken to hospital where they were treated.

Eastbourne wheelie bin fire sparks safety warning

Eastbourne firefighters are warning of the dangers of placing hot ashes in wheelie bins after a fire broke out over the weekend.

Hot ashes sparked a fire in a wheelie bin in Willoughby Crescent, Seaside Left, Eastbourne, on Saturday (27th October) at 7.23pm.

One crew were called to the incident and ensured that the fire was completely out and the area made safe.

Incident Commander Alan Birtwistle said:

"We would urge residents to place ashes in a metal container, preferably external and away from the house and other out buildings. On this occasion the occupant believed that the ashes were cold because the fire had been out for six hours but, in fact, were still hot enough to ignite the wheelie bin and its contents, which was stored up against the side of his house.

"He was very lucky that he discovered the fire in time, plastic wheelie bins burn quite violently and can flare up if you place water on it dependent on contents.

"This should be a warning to others. Don’t under estimate how long the ashes would be hot for and always treat them as being hot."

Eastbourne’s Borough Commander Dave Sheppard would also like to take this opportunity to remind local businesses to store refuse in a safe manner, away from buildings and to consider lockable commercial bins to prevent incidents from occurring.

He recently issued this warning in light of the fire in Uckfield High Street, which destroyed four shops and threatened accommodation.

He said: "What starts as a small fire in a pile of rubbish can quickly escalate to involve nearby buildings and property with devastating effect.

"Both the fire at The Crumbles and in Uckfield started in refuse that had accumulated and acted as a magnet which some in our community cannot resist. I would remind property owners and occupiers of the importance of storing their refuse in a safe manner, away from buildings and consider the use of lockable commercial bins to try and prevent these incidents occurring."

In the event of a fire East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service always recommends to ‘get out, stay out and call 999’ and not to tackle the fire but to leave it to the professionals.

Friday, 26 October 2012

World Firefighter Games

Six Hailsham firefighters represented East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS) at the World Firefighter Games in London last weekend (21st October). 

The crew were also amongst the representatives from ESFRS who went to New York on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 last year.

Hailsham firefighter Jason Hull said:

“Three hundred and forty three firefighters lost their lives trying to save others. We never know what we may or may not get called to and once a firefighter always a firefighter, no matter where you are in the world.

“We wanted to show our respects, as we did as a crew last year, at the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in New York, representing the Service and presenting an ESFRS plaque to the New York Fire Department Fire Chief.”

The crew saw the World Firefighter Games as another opportunity to show their respect for fellow firefighters across the world, as well as representing ESFRS.

Running concurrently with the Games, which were held at the ExCel London Exhibition and Convention Centre last weekend, was the first international ‘Tunnel 2 Towers’ run in London, which the crew also took part in alongside other representatives from ESFRS. 

Jason added:

“We are a very charitable Watch - taking part in walks, runs, fire engine pulls and car washes and it seemed fitting, as we were there for the tenth anniversary, that this year we attended the World Fire Fighter Games in London as well as running in full fire kit in the first Tunnel 2 Towers London run.

“It seemed particularly fitting as it’s the Olympic year and London hosted the games to take part in this event as a mark of respect.”

The Hailsham firefighters who took part included Steve Blunt, Mark Farley, Ali Burton, Jason Hull, Tim Brown and Michael Holloway.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Keeping an Eye on You

Wealden District has one of the worst records in the South East for the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads. One group of motorists at particular risk are young male drivers aged 17 to 19 years old.
To combat this problem the Safer Wealden Partnership has taken a detailed look at the issue. This included analysing the statistics, looking at recent research on the subject, holding focus groups with young male drivers and conducting a survey with the target group.  They are now taking a social marketing approach to find a long-term solution.
It was discovered that traditional road safety campaigns which highlight the dangers of having a crash are unlikely to have any long-term effects on the driving behaviours of this group. So it is launching a new campaign with a new approach on 30 October.
Dr Jeremy Leach, Public Health Manager at Wealden District Council, who conducted the research with the University of Brighton, said:
“All the evidence points to the fact that focussing on the social inconvenience of losing the use of your car and maybe licence is likely to have a much longer-lasting effect on the behaviour of this group of motorists than the more normal messages we all are used to seeing - that poor driving and the inappropriate use of speed causes serious crashes. The branding of this campaign has been chosen carefully, tested and is designed to make young drivers think and feel uneasy.”
Mark Matthews, Wealden Borough Commander for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Chair of the Safer Wealden Roads Group, said:
 “The campaign has been branded ‘We’re Keeping an Eye on You’. It will include posters targeting young male drivers, which will be displayed at all the community colleges and schools in the district, as well as fast-food outlets, late night fuel stations and other places where this group of road users are likely to frequent. 
“In addition there will be targeted enforcement campaigns by Sussex Police; promotion of ‘Operation Crackdown’ (which targets anti-social driving); and a range of other activity, including letters being sent to both the Secretaries of State at the Department for Transport and the Department of Health.”
Councillor Claire Dowling, Chairman of the Safer Wealden Partnership and Portfolio Holder for Wealden District Council, said:
“The number of people killed or seriously injured on Wealden’s roads remains a serious concern and the time to look at different solutions to this vitally important problem is now. We will be watching and evaluating this approach carefully, but are hopeful that the messages will be heeded by this group of road users.”
Chief Inspector Dick Coates, District Commander with Sussex Police for Wealden, said:
“This is an exciting time for road safety in Wealden; we are trialling a new approach, which if effective could see a reduced number of young drivers being involved in serious road crashes. If it is shown to be effective it could be rolled out across a much wider area, even nationally. I am sure every parent dreads a knock on the door late at night from one of my officers to impart bad news about a loved one.”
The campaign will be launched at Uckfield Fire Station on Tuesday 30 October at 12.15pm.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Eastbourne firefighters invited to Downing Street for top award

Eastbourne’s ‘Blazing Saddles’ team were announced as one of the winners at the 2012 eighth annual Spirit of Fire Awards last Friday (19th October) in front of a star-studded audience. 

They scooped the title of Supporter of the Year (Team) and brushed shoulders with VIPs at the national award ceremony.

They met The Right Honourable Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, at a special reception at Downing Street, after which the nominees made their way to the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, where they received their awards during a prestigious ceremony presented by newsreader Nicholas Owen.

The Blazing Saddles team from Eastbourne’s Community Fire Station raised an amazing £16,370 for CLIC Sargent and the Fire Fighters Charity from their epic trip around the UK on mopeds, as well as numerous other fundraising events.

Crew Manager Bob Newton said: 

“Our visit to Belfast Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward was a very humbling and moving experience for us all. The children loved our visit and we were all so pleased and proud to meet them. We will never forget our four days away raising money for our two chosen charities.

“The awards ceremony was a wonderful end to a fantastic 18 months + of fund raising. We were all so pleased to win. The Team had such a great time, it was brilliant. Green Watch now looks forward to our next fund raising challenge.” 

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Gary Walsh, praised the hard work of the team:

“ESFRS is immensely proud of what the Blazing Saddles team have achieved. They worked hard to raise as much money as they possibly could for these two worthy charities. We have nothing but adulation and praise for what they have done and are delighted that they have received the recognition that they deserve in this prestigious award.” 

Commenting on the many achievements recognised at The Spirit of Fire 2012, Eric Pickles MP said:

“These awards are a fantastic opportunity to proudly showcase the very best of our fire and rescue service and also to show our admiration for those who have battled in the face of adversity, or performed a heroic act of bravery and courage.  The Fire Fighters Charity helps all members of the fire service community during their times of need – that’s serving and retired fire service personnel - and their selflessly supportive families.  It’s an honour to be recognising the Charity’s supporters and beneficiaries at the Spirit of Fire awards.”  

Celebrities who attended the evening’s ceremony included Rudolph Walker, Natalie J. Robb, Bhasker Patel, Tony Hirst, Ian Puleston-Davies, Ken Livingstone, Jacqui Hames, Lorraine Chase, Michelle Heaton, Jamie Rickers, Anna Williamson, Lawrie McMenemy MBE and Kevin Keegan OBE.  As well as stars from the stage and screen, a number of the country’s successful Olympic medal-winning athletes joined the celebrations.  

Spirit of Fire 2012 was hosted by The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families. The Charity is available for all members of the fire service community during their time of need, assisting thousands of individuals every year by providing pioneering rehabilitation treatment and support services.  

It costs £9million every year to meet the needs of the Charity’s beneficiaries in the fire service family. With no government funding, the Charity relies upon donations from the general public and fire community.

For more information go to

Monday, 22 October 2012

Buxted fire under investigation

A major fire at a house in Buxted is currently under investigation.
Six crews from Uckfield, Heathfield, Mayfield and Crowborough were called to the incident at 7.07pm on Friday (19th October) evening.

Crews remained at the scene until the early hours of the following morning and fire investigations continued until late afternoon the following day at 4.51pm.

Watch Commander Ian Ritchie said:

“The fire caused severe damage to the roof and the first floor of the detached property. Based upon information being received from callers East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Mobilising & Communications Centre increased the attendance to four appliances.

“This proved to be a good decision as on arrival crews were faced with the entire roof of a large house being well alight and partially collapsed. Neighbours could not confirm if anybody was inside the property and with a car parked in the driveway it was decided to commit a breathing apparatus team to make a quick search.

"However, they had to withdraw due to a further collapse but thankfully there was nobody in the house at the time. Crews fought for several hours to contain the blaze which spread through voids in a complex roof layout.

“We advise owners of larger homes to consider installing hard wired, linked smoke detection systems, which in this case may have alerted neighbours much earlier.”

Chimney fires likely to strike on a Sunday

Sunday is the one day of the week that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is likely to be called out to a chimney fire.

This fact was born out yesterday (21stOctober) after crews were called out twice in one day to two separate chimney fires in East Sussex.

The first call came in at 1.47pm in Cranbourne Street, Brighton, and a crew from Preston Circus remained at the scene until 2.22pm making the area safe.

Meanwhile, later the same day in Rangemore Drive, Eastbourne firefighters were called out at 8.36pm and were at the property for just under half an hour making the area safe.

This is the second week on the trot that there have been a series of chimney fires on a Sunday.

Steve Wright, Community Safety Manager, said: "Chimney fires are a common cause of fire in dwellings and can cause widespread damage.

An open fire is an ideal way to keep warm this winter but without proper maintenance a chimney can become dangerous. In the last two years alone we have attended 420 incidents involving chimney fires.”

Chimney Fire Facts:
  • Sundays were the most common days for chimney fires.
  • 7pm was the most common time to receive calls about chimney fires. 
  •   Single occupancy houses are by far the most common property for chimney fires, with 143 incidents, bungalows trail in second place with only 13.
  • There were no fatalities caused by chimney fires.­
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind homeowners of the importance of professional chimney maintenance.

A good old fashioned sweep will eliminate the build-up of soot from coal, wood, oil and gas-fired appliances and maintain your chimney safely. It also clears obstructions such as birds and animal nests, even cobwebs.

All NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) Members are fully trained, qualified and fully insured. Members work to a Code of Practice and a Certificate of Sweeping is issued on completion of work.

To find a certified chimney sweep and lots more, please visit

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service recommend that people follow the guidelines outlined below on chimney fire safety to help reduce their chances of a fire. For further chimney fire safety advice, please visit the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service website:

  •  Have your chimney swept at least once a year, twice a year if burning wood.
  • When burning wood, use dry, seasoned woods only.
  • Build smaller, hotter fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes or waste paper.
  • NEVER use petrol or paraffin to light your fire.
  • Do not overload the grate or appliance.
  • Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires.
  •  Inspect your chimney breast, particularly in the roof space. Make sure that it is sound and that the sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks. 
  •  Ensure the fire is fully extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Make sure wood burners and other fire appliances are installed and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions. 
  •   Make sure your smoke alarm is working properly, early detection can save lives.