New figures from Kent Fire and Rescue Service show a drop in the number of house fires across the county in the last year. But now their safety experts are trying to highlight the danger posed by smoke. Iain McBride reports from their specialist training centre in Ashford.
Innovative firefighting equipment is to be rolled out across Kent - from all terrain vehicles to specialist technology which can cut through concrete and rapidly reduce the temperature of building fires.
This is the next phase of a major project to ensure that Kent Fire and Rescue Service is ready to meet the future needs of the county.
The new kit means there is more flexibility, certain incidents can be reached faster and tackled more quickly, and savings can be made by not always having to use a traditional fire engine for every job.
A new water 'lance' which can punch through doors, walls and roofs is being rolled out across Kent. The groundbreaking piece of kit delivers a super fine mist that immediately reduces the temperature and put out fires. It uses a fraction of the water of a traditional hose and causes less damage.
It's been trialled on an appliance in Margate and has been used on seven occasions since August last year. This included a workshop fire in Doddington where oil and other chemicals were stored. Kent Fire & Service are also replacing 21 appliances with new models and trialling all terrain vehicles.
Two people escaped onto a roof after a fire at a flat in Ramsgate on 19th January 2013. Kent Fire service were called to the rescue just before 7am. It's not yet known how the blaze started.
The owner of a dog which fell 30 feet down a quarry in Maidstone has thanked specialist firefighters who rescued him.
Three year old Dexter got stuck on a ledge around 50 feet from the bottom. He'd run under a fence before sliding down the quarry near Hermitage Lane on Sunday afternoon.
A specialist fire team have rescued a dog which fell 30 feet into a quarry in Kent.
Jason Ensinger was walking Dexter, a three-year-old cross breed, when the much-loved pet ran under a fence and slid 30 foot down the quarry. He became stuck on a ledge, approximately 50 feet from the bottom.
A specialist line team from Kent Fire and Rescue were called in to rescue him.
Station Manager Dean Firmin explained what happened next: "Wearing a harness, a firefighter was lowered down but he then had trouble trying to get the dog and it was becoming increasingly anxious and was trying to escape so we were starting to worry that it could fall off the ledge.
"Following a suggestion by Jason, we then gave him a harness and clipped him onto our firefighter; making sure they were both safely attached, they then went down to the ledge. Fortunately this time, the dog was happy to go to his owner and he was successfully brought back to safety.
The line rescue team are specially trained and equipped to deal with this sort of rescue and we're pleased we were able to help."
Jason said: "We can't thank them enough as Dexter is more than a family pet, he's like a child to us and we were so frightened for him, especially as he became more scared and started trying to run around on the ledge.
"The fire crews were fantastic and I know people would say 'what's the fuss, he's just a pet?' but he's more than that and we're so very thankful that they managed to help."
A man in his thirties is being treated for burns in hospital after accidentally setting himself on fire while lighting a bonfire. Kent Fire & Rescue Service were called to allotments on Stirling Way in Ramsgate at around 6.10pm on Thursday October 4.
The man's injuries are not said to be life threatening.
– Ramsgate Crew Manager Neil Roby, Kent Fire & Rescue Service
"We're coming to that time of year when people use bonfires to clear their gardens but we urge them to treat these types of fires with extreme care and follow our safety steps to avoid serious injury or causing an out-of-control fire."
Kent Fire & Rescue Service have issued some top tips for a safe outdoor fire:
- Never leave a bonfire unattended
- Set well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs.
- Before lighting, check that no animals are hiding inside it.
- Build the stack so it's stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.
- Never use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire.
- Don't burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, and tins of paint or bottles.
- Keep children away from the fire.
- Keep a buckets of water or garden hose ready in case of an emergency.
- Once the fire has burnt out, before you leave it pour a bucket of water on the embers.
Police went to Kent and Canterbury Hospital to investigate the cause of a fire which happened shortly before 3pm today, 30th August.
Officers are currently working with Kent Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause.
Police are also investigating a report of theft from the hospital restaurant whilst the fire was being dealt with.
The investigation is in its early stages and officers will be keeping an open mind as to whether the fire is linked to one at Medway Maritime Hospital yesterday, 29th August.
No one was reported to have been injured in either of the fires.