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Whether you trick or treat, stay safe this Halloween

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and its educational centre, SkillZONE, is reminding parents to keep their families safe this Halloween.

They are particularly alerting people to the safety risks that come with lighting candles for Halloween pumpkins.  Tips include using a candle holder and to keep them away from anything that could catch fire, like Halloween decorations, curtains and costumes.

Area Manager John Beard, Head of Prevention & Protection for Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service said: “Halloween has grown year on year and understandably, there is a lot of excitement around it. We don’t want to stop children enjoying themselves, but we would ask that parents take extra care to make sure Halloween is safe as well as fun.”

SkillZONE Manager Donna Potts adds: “We teach fire safety to every young person who visits our centre along with using candles safely – especially tea-lights.”

“Battery operated candles are the safest way to go at Halloween but if you are going to have a naked flame make sure to place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn.”

Here are a few simple measures to protect children as they trick, treat and enjoy their spooky celebrations:

  • Be aware flowing items such as fake hair and capes can become hazardous if they are worn near naked flames such as candles.
  • Ensure that you use only fire retardant costumes for dressing up and that children can see out of masks.
  • Remember that Halloween costumes like plastic capes can pose a fire risk.
  • Keep children and pets away from garden candles and lanterns or any open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
  • Always keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
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Smoke alarms save lives, test yours when the clocks change

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Smoke is responsible for over half of accidental house fire deaths which is why Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is backing a campaign to get residents to test their smoke alarms when the clocks go back this weekend.

Smoke is known as the silent killer but a working smoke alarm can give people the wake-up call they need to escape. In the majority of fire deaths in the home there are either no smoke alarms in place or they did not go off, with a common cause being missing or flat batteries.

GFRS is supporting the national Fire Kills campaign to remind people that a simple push of the alarm test button will test both the power supply and the detection mechanism.

Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for fire and rescue, councillor Will Windsor Clive said: “You are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm, so taking the time to test the smoke alarms in your home could be a truly life saving decision.

“The clock change weekend can be a great reminder to test your smoke alarms so over the weekend of 25-26 October why not test yours when changing the clocks.”

GFRS Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar said: “The prevention of fires and protection of people in our community is our service’s top priority and we carried out 3,635 home safety visits and fitted 4,992 smoke alarms in the past year.

“You will walk past your smoke alarm countless times every day and we just ask that you spend a few seconds checking its working when you change the clocks this weekend.

“Half of the people who died in fires in the home last year were 65 years old or over. So as well as testing your own alarms please help older people by checking theirs.”

GFRS firefighter Paul Barrett provided a free home safety visit to Mrs Blowing, 77, of Cirencester after a leaflet drop offering the service.

She said: “I did have an old smoke alarm but I have to admit I hadn’t checked if it worked; now I know to check my new one regularly. I learnt a lot about fire risks and hazards.”

Jerry Evans, 76, of Meysey Hampton was also visited by Paul. He said: “We had much better smoke alarms fitted and they were very professional about their advice. “I think any old age pensioner should have these checks as it was a real eye-opener.”

To pledge to the campaign after doing your alarm test visit the Fire Kills facebook page or www.gov.uk/firekills If you know someone that may be vulnerable or at risk of a fire you can call 0800 180 4140 or email safeguardingconcerns@glosfire.gov.uk to arrange a free home safety check.

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Roll Up Roll Up to help our Forces family

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 Staff at safety education centre, SkillZONE will ‘pop the kettle on’ to host a SSAFA’s Big Brew Up on Friday October 10th from 9am -11:30am to help raise money to support the armed forces.

The Big Brew Up is SSAFA’s biggest annual fundraiser and is taking place from October 6th -12th up and down the country and around the world wherever British Forces are based.

Local people are invited to get together with family, friends and colleagues for a cup of tea and a slice of cake at SkillZONE, Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, GL4 0AS.

The SkillZONE team will be rolling out the bunting and putting their baking skills to the test  to offer colleagues at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS), the Police and the Ambulance service a tea drinker’s dream Big Brew Up.

SkillZONE Manager Donna Potts says, ‘Taking part in the Big Brew Up is a great opportunity to raise money for the incredible work that SSAFA do and it also fits with the centenary of the Great War. Having worked for the Royal Air Force I know first-hand what an amazing job they do and I invite others to join me on Friday to support this cause.”

“Many GFRS staff are former military personnel and it’s heartwarming to know we are joining thousands of others across the world from Afghanistan to Canada to raise a mug to our servicemen and women.”

Verity Maylam, SSAFA’s Big Brew Up coordinator, adds, ‘The Big Brew Up is our biggest, easiest and most exciting fundraising event of the year. The money raised will help to support more than 50,000 people each year, that’s 136 every single day. SSAFA supports serving personnel, veterans and their families. Every penny raised from the Big Brew Up will go towards SSAFA’s life changing work.’

If you would like to attend the event, phone 01452 834150 or email skillzone@glosfire.gov.uk to let us know and we suggest a donation of £1-£2 towards the SSAFA fundraiser.

 

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Editor’s Notes

SSAFA

SSAFA provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army or Royal Air Force and their families. Each year, our staff and network of 7,500 volunteers are there for more that 50,000 people, ranging from D-Day veterans to the families of young soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

For more information visit www.ssafa.org.uk

 

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SkillZONE supports Ageing Safely Week

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Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is urging residents to keep an eye on the older members of their community as part of Ageing Safely Week.

The Chief Fire Officers Association Ageing Safely Week runs from Monday 29th September to Sunday 5th October and will see fire and rescue services across the country engaging with older people through a range of activities and showcasing the work they do with older people on a daily basis.

 

GFRS Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar said: “We should treasure the older people in our community. Whether that’s our grandparents, parents, a friend or a neighbour, we can all do our bit to look out for their wellbeing.

 

“Small acts of kindness like checking their smoke alarms are working if they struggle to do it themselves, may save their life.

 

“Our firefighters are committed to helping older people, particularly those who are most vulnerable or at risk and we provide free home safety checks to anyone who needs it.”

 

GFRS will be supporting Gloucestershire County Council’s Full of Life campaign launch on Wednesday 1st October at SkillZONE in Gloucester, which is also the International Day of Older Persons.

 

The service will also attend the subsequent pop-up shops around the county throughout October to provide fire safety advice.

 

Full of Life Gloucestershire is a celebration of older people with groups from community hubs around the county attending a morning of fun activities.

 

Tours will be given of the safety centre and Gloucester South Fire Station, while the fire service’s community safety team will be on hand to provide smoke alarms and fire safety tips.

 

They will also be bringing in specialist equipment such as flame retardant bedding to showcase alongside Telecare which provides assistive technology that helps older people to live safely and independently in the home.

 

Statistics show that the risk of dying in a fire for those aged 65 and over is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages. In Gloucestershire around 5,000 households in the 65 plus age group have been identified as vulnerable.

 

GFRS identifies those who are most at risk in the county and undertakes targeted prevention and protection activities to help them stay safe.

 

If you know someone that may be vulnerable or at risk of a fire you can call 0800 180 4140 or email safeguardingconcerns@glosfire.gov.uk to arrange a free home safety check.

 

 

 

 

Facts about Ageing Safely Week:

  • With an ever-increasing older population – 23% of the UK will be aged 65 and over by 2035.

  • UK fire services carried out 274,000 home fire safety checks in households with a person over 65 years in 2012-13.

  • Age related fire death factors include: poor mobility, poor sense of smell and reduced tolerance of smoke and burns.

 

 

 

 

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Interactive safety centre offers free tours

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Over 1,000 Year 5 pupils in Gloucestershire have been taught life-saving safety tips since funded visits to the country’s newest safety centre, SkillZONE began in April.

Pupils from St Paul’s Primary school learning about water safety on a visit to SkillZONE.

Pupils from St Paul’s Primary school learning about water safety on a visit to SkillZONE.

More primary schools are being urged to take advantage of their free visit for Year 5 pupils (saving around £150 per class) by booking a trip this term. The £35,000 Gloucestershire County Council funded initiative is until March 31, 2015.

The state-of-the-art facility in Gloucester uses realistic sights, smells and noises to teach children life skills and about safety. Scenarios such as a dark alley, a beach or an internet cafe are used to get important messages across such as stranger danger, water safety or cyber bullying.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar says; “It gives me great pleasure to provide these safety lessons to every Year 5 pupil and it was heartening to see we were fully booked by schools last term.”

SkillZONE teaches children about vital decisions such as how to evacuate from a house fire or treat a burn and we want as many pupils as possible to benefit from these free sessions.

In a survey completed by 30 schools visiting SkillZONE as part of the Year 5 offer 96% of teachers said they were “very satisfied” by their tour and 92% said they believed their pupils were “a great extent” safer following their visit.

All groups will learn road safety, fire safety and hazards in the home during their 2 hour tour and teachers can choose 6 other scenarios such as a bus, a police cell, a Magistrate’s court and a shop.

To find out more about SkillZONE or to book visit: skillzonetest.co.uk

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Free trips for Year 5

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Gloucestershire primary schools are being urged to take advantage of their free visit for Year 5 pupils (saving around £150 per class) by booking a trip when the new school term starts.

The £35,000 Gloucestershire County Council funded initiative must be used by the end of March 2015.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer Stewart Edgar says; “Keeping young people safe and the prevention of accidents and injuries is integral to our role. SkillZONE tackles this by teaching children how to make life-saving decisions whether that’s wearing a seatbelt or how to evacuate from a house fire.”

I am thrilled we are able to provide these safety lessons to every Year 5 child and I believe they will leave us armoured with essential life skills which they can share with their families.

The state-of-the-art facility in Gloucester uses realistic sights, smells and noises to enhance each group’s experience of nine different scenarios which teach children about safety.

In a survey completed by 30 schools visiting SkillZONE as part of the Year 5 offer 96% of teachers said they were “very satisfied” by their tour and 92% said they believed their pupils were “a great extent” safer following their visit.

All groups will learn road safety, fire safety and hazards in the home during their 2 hour tour and teachers can choose 6 other scenarios such as water safety, an internet cafe, a Magistrate’s court and a shop.

To find out more about SkillZONE or to book visit: skillzonetest.co.uk

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Safe Summer Day pulls huge crowd despite rain

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Torrential rain and thunderstorms couldn’t dampen the spirit of over 1,000 enthusiastic residents who turned up for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s first ever Safe Summer Fun Day on Saturday July 19th.

Fire truck demonstrations, a robot treasure hunt and a chance to tour the newest safety centre in the country is just a sample of what was enjoyed by the record number of people for an open day.

Firefighter house rescue.

Firefighter house rescue.

Working together with safety centre, SkillZONE and Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership the flagship event for the fire service this year offered a chance for local residents to visit Gloucester South Fire Station and experience SkillZONE.

The free family event promoted the underlying theme of having a safe summer holiday and was also packed full of great kid’s activities in the KidZONE such as face painting, games and coloring.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Geoff Sallis says: “We were overwhelmed by the great crowd of local people who came to our event despite the rain. Along with enjoying all the activities on offer we hope that residents took on board the summer safety advice for a happy holiday.”

“A big thank-you to all that supported this year’s Safe Summer Fun Day whether they were stall holders or our partners such as the Police, Ambulance, British Red Cross and the RNLI.”

Nathan Timbrell, with 2 year old Shay meeting PCSO Tracy Wren and Colin the Crocodile Copper.

Nathan Timbrell, with 2 year old Shay meeting PCSO Tracy Wren and Colin the Crocodile Copper.

Longlevens resident Vanessa Rose says; “I’ve been to lots of fire station open days and this was the best yet. There was lots of interaction and it exceeded my expectations. The kids loved it.”

Phillip Marshall of Linden added; “Everything seen today reinforced good safety messages for the kids. If you tell them as parents they don’t listen but learning from the people here at SkillZONE really brings it home. It’s been awesome.”

Hundreds of visitors took up the chance to try out SkillZONE’s innovative safety village and 130 children were given out goodie bags for completing the robot treasure hunt.

Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership provided The Bike hub with Gloucester Bike Project offering free safety checks and tune ups, a pedal powered smoothie maker and 7-11 year old children took part in the off-road bike handling skills activity. Go karts were also run by Cirkitz International and Kwik Fit, giving users a chance to find out how dangerous it is to drive under the influence by wearing special beer goggles.

In the afternoon fire truck demonstrations kept crowds entertained and dancers from Linda Virgoe Dance Academy performed their modern, jazz and ballet routine.

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Summer safety tips for families

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Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and its safety centre SkillZONE are providing summer safety advice for families.

10,000 leaflets are being delivered around the Tuffley based safety centre and station ahead of its free Safe Summer Fun Day on Saturday July 19th 2014, 10:30am – 4:30pm.

These are being posted to invite residents to the Fire Station open day and to SkillZONE, both found on Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, GL4 0AS as well as to offer the  tips below:

Home Safety

  • Always have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and test regularly
  • Be prepared by making a plan of escape
  • Make a bedtime check including close doors and unplug electrical appliances

 

Travelling

  • Be prepared and plan your journey
  • Make sure your vehicle is safe, legal and roadworthy
  • Ensure that you are fit and safe to drive

 

Holidays

  • Having a working smoke alarm in a caravan is just as important as having one in your home
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside, only use designated safe areas
  • Never use candles in a caravan or tent

 

Free home safety checks are available by calling 0800 180 4140.

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Skillzone uses hair straighteners to cook breakfast with local pupils

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As part of this year’s Child Accident Prevention Week (23-29 June 2014), pupils from Kingsholm Primary School will visit Gloucestershire’s only safety centre to learn about the dangers of burns and scalding caused by hair straighteners.

This year the awareness week, led by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), will focus on the theme of ‘Morning Mayhem’.

Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer said: “We know that for many the morning can be a busy time – especially for those who have young children. By teaching young people the dangers of hair straighteners along with other house hold items we’re helping to keep them safe from serious injury.

“Hair straighteners stay hot for longer than you think. Your child can be burned if they touch them – even if they’ve been unplugged for up to 15 minutes. By storing hair straighteners safely on a high shelf or inside a heatproof bag keeps them out of children’s reach.”

CAPT reports that hair straightener burns have doubled in recent years and now contribute to one in ten burns to children. In addition, six toddlers are admitted to hospital every day as a result of being badly burned.

Cllr Will Windsor Clive, Cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn the simple skills to help protect themselves from an easily preventable emergency. The SkillZONE centre provides a great service to children meaning they can make the right choices now and later on in life.”

If you or your school would like to find out more about SkillZONE visit skillzonetest.co.uk. For a limited period, primary schools in Gloucestershire can bring their Year 5 pupils for free.

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Safety at the heart of family fun day

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Fire truck demonstrations, go karts and a chance to tour the newest safety centre in the country is just a taste of what Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service’s Safe Summer Fun Day will offer on Saturday July 19th from 10:30am – 4pm at Gloucester South Fire Station on Tuffley Road, Gloucester GL4 0AS.

Bringing together all aspects of safety, this free event for all the family will be held inside and outside the fire station and at its neighbouring safety education centre, SkillZONE.

The day will be packed full of great kids activities such as face painting but it will also promote the underlying theme of having a safe summer holiday.

Visitors will get a chance to try out SkillZONE’s innovative safety village and children will be able to take part in a safety treasure hunt with the centre’s Staysafeatron robots.

Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership will also host a mini Level 1 Bikeability session and go karts for people to find out how dangerous it is to drive drunk by wearing special ‘beer goggles’ which simulate what it feels like to be under the influence.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Stewart Edgar says “Put Saturday July 19th in your diary as we are planning a wonderful day with lots of exciting things happening to keep you entertained along with good food and refreshments.”

“As well as providing a community open day to both our facilities this is going to be the flagship event for safety this summer and is not to be missed.”

Other partners such as the Police, the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, RNLI, British Red Cross and Bikesafe will also take part in the Safe Summer Fun Day. Different elements of safety will be focused on in the weeks leading up to the event with top safety tips offered to the public through social media which cover road safety, fire safety and water safety.

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