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Firefighters issue deliberate blaze warning

2013 wildfire at Siddick Ponds Credit: ITV Border

With the summer holidays well underway Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is urging parents to teach their children about the dangers of deliberately starting wildfires.

In 2013 the Siddick Ponds nature reserve near Workington was devastated by arson. The reserve has recovered and plant and animal life have returned, but firefighters say deliberate, nuisance fires can have fatal consequences.

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Fire service's BBQ warning

BBQ fires are more common over the summer. Credit: PA

If you're planning to bring out the barbecue then make sure you do it safely. That's the message from Cumbria's Fire and Rescue Service.

They're noticing an increase in the use of portable BBQs over the summer period.

As well as taking care when lighting barbecues, people are being reminded not to take them indoors or inside a tent, following a spate of deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Firefighters hit the road to drive home safety messages

Credit: PA

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is hitting the road this week to spread safety messages as part of a national campaign.

The Chief Fire Officers Association has designated 8-14 June as UK Road Safety Week and is encouraging fire services across Britain to take part by hosting road-safety related activities.

With road collisions still the leading cause of death for young adults aged between 15 and 19, this year’s Road Safety Week is focusing on the issue of young drivers and passengers being distracted and Cumbria's firefighters are supporting the week with a number of events around the county.

Fire Service calling for new volunteers

Credit: ITV Border

Cumbria residents interested in helping keep their communities safe are being encouraged to mark Volunteers’ Week by coming forward and teaming up with the county's fire and rescue service.

New faces are needed to join the service’s community safety team and assist in a variety of roles, from carrying out home fire safety checks and fitting free smoke alarms to delivering HeartStart life-support courses.

They are also involved in:

- Assisting at events and community days

- Helping with fire safety campaigns and speaking to residents about community safety issues

- Supporting delivery of the Dementia Friends campaign

Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) is a national campaign that celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. As well as celebrating what volunteers do, it’s also an opportunity to raise the profile of volunteering and recruit more people to the cause.

Each member of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s community volunteer team is given varied training, a uniform and expenses and operates within a formal structure to ensure high standards of service are maintained.

Currently Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has around 85 volunteers county-wide and is looking to boost that number by taking on new volunteers.

“Our volunteers do a great job and play a vital role in the work of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service. Fire prevention and educating people about the dangers of fires is a major focus of what we do, so our volunteers are absolutely key to enabling us to get out into communities and deliver the fire safety message that saves lives.

"Volunteers’ Week is an ideal opportunity for those thinking about volunteering to get involved, so I’d urge people to contact us and find out more.”

– Cllr Barry Doughty, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for the Fire and Rescue Service

Anybody interested in becoming a Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service volunteer should call 0300 303 8623 or email volunteers@cumbriafire.gov.uk for an application pack or to find out more information.

Open days to find new on-call firefighters

Credit: PA

Open days are being held across Cumbria to recruit new on-call firefighters.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service needs additional firefighters in Bootle, Coniston, Grange, Lazonby, Longtown, Penrith, Ambleside, Appleby, Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe, Shap, Staveley, Maryport and Silloth.

The Service says it's looking for men and women from all different backgrounds who are fit, healthy, up for a challenge and prepared to commit to the role.

Call rates vary from fire station to fire station, with some of Cumbria’s on-call stations responding to over 200 calls a year and others as few as 15.

On-call firefighters will be expected to attend a two-hour training session at their fire station each week plus additional core training courses in order to maintain operational skills.

The nature of the on-call duty system means firefighters need to live or work within five minutes of their station so they can respond to emergency calls. On-call firefighters are contracted to provide an agreed number of ‘availability’ hours and only attend the fire station when they have received an emergency callout.

Open days, where those potentially interested in becoming on-call firefighters can visit their station to find out more about what the role involves, are taking place on the following dates.

  • Bootle - Saturday 25 April 10am-1pm
  • Coniston - Monday 27 April 4pm-7pm
  • Grange - Wednesday 22 April 4pm-7pm
  • Longtown - Tuesday 14 April 11am-2pm and Tuesday 5 May 4pm-6pm
  • Ambleside - Saturday 18 April 11am-2pm and Wednesday 29 April 4pm-7pm
  • Appleby - Wednesday 15 April 4pm-7pm and Sunday 26 April 11am-2pm
  • Kirkby Lonsdale - Tuesday 14 April 2.30pm-6pm and Monday 20 April 10am-1pm
  • Milnthorpe - Monday 13 April 4pm-7pm and Saturday 2 May 11am-2pm
  • Shap - Monday 13 April 4pm-7pm and Saturday 25 April 11am-2pm
  • Maryport - Wednesday 22 April 11am-2pm and Tuesday 28 April 4pm-6pm
  • Silloth - Thursday 23 April 4pm-6pm and Thursday 30 April 11am-2pm

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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.

Fatal fire in Silloth

Credit: PA

Investigations are underway after a fatal house fire in Silloth yesterday.

Firefighters were called to an incident at a property on Solway Street at 12.44, although the fire was out on arrival.

The fatality was confirmed at the scene and an investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

Shortage of retained firefighters in Cumbria

Cumbria Fire and Rescue is looking for more on-call firefighters. The service has an ongoing recruitment drive but is currently focussing on Shap and Silloth. Kate Farrance, who has three young children and a part-time job, recently signed up as a retained firefighter in Appleby.

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