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Kent Fire Service appeal for volunteers

Kent Fire and Rescue Service's community volunteer scheme is searching for enthusiastic recruits to join the team.

The scheme currently has 47 unpaid volunteers who contribute their time to undertake a range of directed community activities.

Volunteers support both the KFRS dedicated community safety team as well as stations throughout Medway and Kent.

Tasks vary from attending community safety events and promoting home fire safety to highlight outdoor spaces that are at risk of fire.

I am constantly amazed by the amount of time our volunteers are willing to give up, as well as their limitless enthusiasm and interest in what the organisation does. I have had fantastic feedback from staff and now the volunteers are experienced I am being requested to provide volunteers to support station-led events so that they can continue to engage with the public if the operational staff are called away.”

– Coordinator Karen Garrett

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Sixty firefighters tackle major blaze near gas container

by John Ryall

More than sixty firefighters have spent the afternoon tackling a blaze at a caravan site at Gravesend in Kent. A number of homes were evacuated, while other residents in the area were told to stay indoors and keep their windows shut.

As John Ryall reports, plumes of smoke could be seen for miles. The interviewee in his report is Chris Colgan from Kent Fire & Rescue Service.

Biggest ever recruitment drive for Kent firefighters

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has launched its biggest ever recruitment drive for on-call firefighters. Staff are needed at 27 stations. The Fire Brigades Union says it is evidence that the service is 'creaking' after a series of budget cuts.

But the county's fire chiefs say they're simply replacing retained firefighters who've left the service. Sangeeta spoke to the service's director of community safety, and started by asking him, what makes a good recruit?

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Chip pan causes Kent house fire

A woman was taken to hospital after an unattended chip pan caused a fire in her home.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service were called after 10pm last night to reports of a kitchen blaze in Halling.

Two fire engines were sent to the scene and around 70 per cent of the kitchen was damaged by the fire.

On our arrival, we found the front door open with black smoke pouring out but fortunately all the residents were out of the building. There was an alarm on the upstairs landing which had activated but the down stairs alarm had been disconnected.

The woman was very lucky to get out without suffering major injuries and we urgently appeal to residents to make sure they never leave cooking unattended and they have working smoke alarms on all floors of their home."

– Alan Brown, Strood Watch Manager

Firefighters prepare for water rescues

Summer may finally be upon us but for Kent Fire and Rescue Service it means a particular hazard. In the last three years nine people have lost their lives in lakes and rivers across the county.

Many more have been brought to safety by firefighters. It's another aspect of the rescue service that is now far removed from just dealing with fires. Iain McBride reports.

Outdoor fires in Kent have doubled

Outdoor fire call-outs have significantly increased in the Kent area since last year.

This month, fire crews have attended 89 outdoor fires believed to have started deliberately, compared to 49 for the same time last year.

Accidental fires have also increased to 58 call-outs, as opposed to 17 last year.

The Head of Community Safety, Stuart Skilton, appealed to people to take extra care not to start fires, especially with outdoor activities such as camping and barbecuing.

Some of these increases may be because this summer has beendrier so far than last year, meaning that fires are likely to take hold more easily. However, there is a major concern about how many of these outdoor fires are being started deliberately or through carelessness. Fires of this type can spread easily and this puts enormous demands on our resources as well as posing a serious threat to lives and homes.”

– Stuart Skilton, Head of Community Safety
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