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E-cigarette charger fire warning issued

Fire damaged e-cigarette charger Credit: Cumbria County Council

E-smokers are being urged to unplug chargers when their cigarettes are powered up following a fire at a flat in Kendal.

The fire, which started as a result of a charger being left in and switched on at the socket, caused significant burning to the charger, clothes and a chest of drawers.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said it was only due to the prompt actions of the occupier that the fire was quickly extinguished.

It is estimated that over 100 fires started in the UK last year due to e-cigarette chargers.

“Chargers such as these burn out very easily and people need to remember to switch them off once their device is fully charged. If the flat had been unoccupied at the time of ignition the incident would have been far more serious.”

– Jim Onions, Chief Fire Officer, Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is urging e-cigarette smokers to take the following precautions.

  • Ensure they are using the correct USB charger or adaptor for the battery
  • Check there are specific instructions with the product to give guidance on recharging and how long to charge for.
  • Don’t leave electronic cigarette battery cells unattended whilst they are charging
  • Remove batteries from the charger immediately when the light turns green
  • Turn off and unplug electronic cigarette battery cells that are charging before you go to bed.
  • Always charge the battery on a fire retardant surface
  • Discontinue using if the battery or cables become damaged, or if the battery becomes hot or changes shape or begins to smell.

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Rural banking: are mobile branches the answer?

A banking group says mobile branches could be the answer for some towns and villages across the region.

Nat West, which is owned by RBS, is already using the idea in a number of communities.

Sedbergh in south Cumbria, now has no banks left after the last two branches closed.

Customers can still access a cashpoint though and the mobile branch will visit twice a week for an hour each time.

This was the reaction from local people:

Traders sign up to protect customers

The Trusted Trader scheme is proving popular. Credit: ITV Border

Ever been targeted by a rogue trader?

A new scheme in Dumfries and Galloway aims to protect customers, and more than 50 traders have already signed up.

The Trusted Trader scheme sees home improvement businesses get online feedback - you can see reviews of their work, and decide which tradesman to chose.

Traders can join the project for free, but they need to have been in business for six months.

Border bridges for new 1st Class stamps

Some of the UK's most dramatic bridges are celebrated in a new set of stamps launched by Royal Mail.

Ten bridges feature in the collection of first-class stamps, while a special postmark will be issued today.

The featured Border region bridges are:

Royal Border Bridge (1850) - Berwick-upon-Tweed:

Credit: Royal Mail

Row Bridge (1700s) - Lake District:

Credit: Royal Mail

Andrew Hammond, head of stamps and collectibles at Royal Mail, said:

The story of Britain's engineering genius can be found in its bridges. These new stamps celebrate 10 beautiful and ground-breaking landmarks that span centuries of our history.

– – ANDREW HAMMOND, HEAD OF STAMPS AND COLLECTIBLES AT ROYAL MAIL

Fire service issues chip pan warning

With chip pans causing more than one in twenty house fires in the UK, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is issuing a safe sizzling warning ahead of National Chip Week (16-22 February).

“While we all love our fried chips, chip pans can be very hazardous and leaving a chip pan unattended for any length of time can have disastrous results as the oil can easily overheat and ignite in a matter of moments.

“Oven chips are a safer and healthier way to enjoy your favourite meal, or consider investing in a temperature controlled deep-fat fryer to help prevent the worst. But if you do choose to deep fat fry please don’t leave the pan unattended. If your pan does catch light, do not throw water over it – get out, stay out and call 999.”

– Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer Ian Cartwright

If you do decide to deep fat fry your chips – whether they’re ‘chip shop style’ chips, French fries, crinkle cut chips or curly fries – Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service say these all-year-round simple safety tips could help reduce the risk of fire:

  • Use a temperature controlled deep-fat fryer (it’ll help make sure the fat doesn’t get too hot).
  • Check that it doesn’t overheat - hot oil can catch fire easily.
  • Don’t overfill a chip pan with oil – never fill it more than one-third full.
  • Never throw water on a chip pan fire.
  • Don’t cook after drinking alcohol.
  • Have an escape route in place in the event of fire.
  • Don’t take risks by tackling a fire. Get out, stay out and call 999.
  • Get a smoke alarm and test it monthly

For further advice on fire safety visit www.facebook.com/firekills or contact Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service on 01768 812612.

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Breathalyser sales up in Border region

It's almost four weeks since the new drink drive laws were introduced in Scotland and some retailers are seeing record sales in DIY breathalysers.

On December 5 the drink drive limit in Scotland was lowered from 80mg of alcohol in every 100ml of blood, to 50mg.

It's thought drivers are taking warnings onboard.

Some shops, including DA Autoparts in Dumfries and Galloway, have sold out of kits.

Be safe on Black Friday

People are being reminded to be careful when shopping on Black Friday.

In America, Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the US that kick-starts the Christmas season. To celebrate many American stores offer lots of heavily discounted one-day deals, but usually it’s only on one or two big star products.

Read: What is Black Friday?

It's a day which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.

Police Scotland have issued the following advice:

  • Use cash machines in well lit, non-secluded areas and stay alert.
  • Check the machine hasn't been tampered with, hide your PIN, beware of who is behind you and keep your cash out of view.
  • When you're out Christmas shopping, you might not realise how much all the presents you're carrying are worth - look after your shopping bags and don't leave them out of view.
  • If you're driving to the shops, park your car in a busy, well-lit area.
  • Don't keep any presents you've bought in the car for longer than you have to and always keep them out of view.
  • Ensure your bag in closed and not easily accessible when not being used.

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