All posts tagged: Fire Service

Don’t let a fire ruin your Christmas

From Christmas dinner to wrapping presents there’s a lot to remember at Christmas so Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents not to forget fire safety.

Fire Kills statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires in the home in England. Last December, there were around 2,700 accidental fires in the home in England – more than any other month of the year.

While fire safety is important throughout the year, the extra distractions and activity around Christmas such as cooking more, drinking more and using extra heating is reason to be vigilant during the festive season.

Chimney fires are also prevalent at this time of year and GFRS firefighters attended 17 chimney fires in November, with the majority in Stroud and the Cotswolds.

Worryingly, seven of those chimney fires were in homes without a working smoke alarm.

GFRS Chief Fire Officer, Stewart Edgar said: “As wonderful as Christmas is, we know it also brings extra fire risk because of the use of candles, fairy lights on Christmas trees and decorations. So please take extra care to keep loved ones safe from fire. From everyone at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service we wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas.”

Here are some tips to help you and your family enjoy Christmas safely:

• Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on all levels of your home and test them weekly.
• Never leave cooking unattended.
• Never leave burning candles unattended.
• Put your cigarette out, right out.
• Don’t overload sockets.
• Ensure you switch off fairy lights when you go to bed.
• Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – that you should get out, stay out and call 999.


For more information on the Fire Kills campaign you can visit their Facebook page and watch the short Fire Kills Christmas Tree video at

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

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Primary schools urged to visit SkillZONE

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SkillZONE, Gloucestershire’s state-of-the-art education centre, has published a new brochure which aims to encourage all primary schools in the county to visit.

The facility, which opened just over a year ago, teaches children, young people and the greater community to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life so they can stay safe.

SkillZONE is particularly popular with the Year 5 and Year 6 primary school groups and the interactive scenarios used in its life sized village have been designed to compliment PSHE delivery.

Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer, Jon Hall says; “If you haven’t been before, it really is a fantastic and engaging learning environment which teaches valuable life skills.”

“We have had a brilliant response from schools who have visited so far (thank-you) but unfortunately there are others in the county who haven’t been or may not have heard of us. We want to spread the word about what a wonderful resource SkillZONE is to get all schools in Gloucestershire utilising it.”

Queen Margaret Primary School Teacher of Year 6, Daina Kelly, says; “It is a definite must to come again as I think all children would benefit from a visit.”

“The resources are so realistic that the children can realise themselves the situations and it is hard hitting enough for them to remember the lessons.”

The new brochure offers a snapshot of the important safety lessons offered at SkillZONE and the various scenarios including a house, shop, police cell, bus, train and internet cafe.

If you are interested in receiving a brochure please email To book SkillZONE or find out more visit or phone 01452 834150.

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A spooktastic time at SkillZONE Halloween event

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Witches, devils, spiders and baby pumpkins were just some of the costumed youngsters who turned up for SkillZONE’s Halloween Open Days on October 30th and 31st.

SkillZONE, which opened just over a year ago, is an educational centre that teaches children, young people and the greater community to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life so they can stay safe.

Around 120 people came to the Halloween open days on Wednesday and Thursday and took part in short tours of the centre’s life size village.

Local families were able to learn more about fire safety at Halloween with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue crews running fire truck demonstrations over the two day event.

SkillZONE Manager Donna Potts says: “It’s our first time running a Halloween event and we’ve been pleased with the feedback we had from visitors. The kids Halloween outfits have been wonderful and it’s been lovely to see them enjoying SkillZONE and taking in the important safety messages we teach on our tours.”

Children had the chance to play Halloween games, get their face painted, watch fire truck demonstrations and listen to spooky stories.

Oliver Bond, 5, of Quedgeley, (pictured left) won a prize for his skeleton pirate outfit.  He says: “I was happy to win. I liked putting my hand in the spaghetti game the best and the scary story.”

Local volunteers helped run the open days for SkillZONE and local businesses; Fosterplus, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons and the Over Farm Market donated treats, pumpkins and prizes.

“A special thanks also to young Jack and Chloe Hughes who helped with putting up the Halloween decorations.”


Pictures : Main image shows Halloween kids, from left: Sophie Lewis, 9, Jack Gardner, 6, Sophie Orton, 7, Kate Gardner, 9, and Spencer Lewis, 6. On right is Kate Gardner, 9, with her prize winning pumpkin.




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Half term Halloween at SkillZONE

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SkillZONE will open up to children in the school holidays. Children can have a go at spooky face painting, scary pumpkins and arts and crafts, as well as watching fire truck demos.

Local families will be able to learn more about fire safety at Halloween with fire and rescue crews running fire truck demonstrations over the two day event.

The event is running on Wednesday 30th October from 10am to 4pm and again on Thursday 31st October from 10am to 4pm.

The price for entry is £3.50 and children under 2 years old are just £2.

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art village which gives people of all ages the chance to visit 16 zones, each designed to teach them how to recognise a range of dangerous situations, including on the road, in the water and at home.

Places on the SkillZONE tour are limited so please call 01452 834159 now to book.

Children are encouraged to come in fancy dress, but there will be a chance to become a spooky ghost or ghoul at the face painting stand. There will also be a cake sale and some arts and crafts stalls.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a great chance to learn more about fire safety and to have some fun at the same time. Come along in fancy dress because the best costume wins a treat, and don’t forget to bring your scariest pumpkin with you for a chance to win a prize.”

Gloucester South Fire Station and SkillZONE are based at Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, GL4 0AS.

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Gloucestershire South and SkillZONE Open Day

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Vintage fire engines will stand side by side with modern appliances for an open day at Gloucester South Community Fire Station and SkillZONE on Saturday 14th September from 10am to 4pm.

Local people will be able to learn more about the job done by today’s fire and rescue crews with a smoke house and fire fighter demonstrations on the day.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service’s own hovercraft, which is designed to deal with large-scale water-incidents, such as the 2007 floods will be on display, alongside vehicles including special rescue and aerial appliances.

For children there will be a bouncy castle, go-karts, City Farm and live music. Refreshments will also be available to buy.

For a suggested donation of £1 (under 5s free), visitors can book a tour of the SkillZONE village and find out how this exciting new venue is helping to create safer, healthier communities. Numbers are restricted so booking is essential – you need to book in person at the SkillZONE desk on arrival.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: “The fire service has changed significantly over the years, but its role remains the same – that of protecting residents and saving lives. This is a great chance to learn more about fire safety and to have some fun at the same time.”

Gloucester South and SkillZONE are based at Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, GL4 0AS.

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Families tested for Child Safety Week

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From learning about the perils of poisons in the home to staying safe on the county’s roads, families in Gloucestershire will take part in a series of events at SkillZONE to mark National Child Safety Week from 24th to 30th June.

Staff at the state-of-the-art safety education centre are inviting safety ambassadors from Oakwood Primary, Rowanfield Junior, Hester’s Way Primary and Gardner’s Lane Primary schools to take part in a special passport challenge, giving them vital road safety advice whether travelling by bus, on foot, on a bike or by car.

Parents will also be invited to taste test Bitrex – a bitter substance added to many household products to stop children accidentally swallowing them.

The ordeal is intended to help families understand the dangers of poisons in the home as those who drink Bitrex will want to spit the product out rather than swallow it.

And even though the flavour will quickly be replaced by a piece of chocolate, the memory of the taste will last a long time – as will the message about preventing their child from being poisoned.

SkillZONE visitors will also be learning about the dangers of scalds and burns and how to respond in an emergency.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for community safety, said: “We always think our children are safe at home, but many childhood accidents happen there. Child Safety Week is a great reminder of the simple steps everyone can take to keep young people safe.”

Donna Potts, SkillZONE manager at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We’re worried about serious accidents to children in Gloucestershire. During SkillZONE’s safety week we will be encouraging everyone to be a safety hero and find out about simple things they can do that will make a real difference to preventing accidents. Child Safety Week gives us a great opportunity to talk to families about accident prevention, have some fun and get some serious messages across.”

Katrina Phillips, chief executive at the Child Accident Prevention Trust, the national charity that runs Child Safety Week, said: “Our message for Child Safety Week is that you don’t need to be superhuman to be a safety hero. Putting your coffee cup out of reach of small hands, keeping painkillers and cleaning things stored safely away, practising road safety with your children while you’re out walking – these small things all add up to children who are protected from serious harm. 

“With the help of SkillZONE and Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, families can learn how to transform themselves into safety heroes. And there are more tips on how to be a safety hero on the Child Safety Week website new window.”

The Road Safety Partnership is working closely with Gloucestershire’s firefighters to ensure they are trained with the latest in car seat technology, to enable them to give advice to the public on securing the seats in their vehicles.

During Child Safety Week, firefighters will be attending various children’s centres in Cheltenham and Gloucester offering free car seat checks.

Anyone requiring a car seat safety check can request one by contacting the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service community safety team on 01452 753333 or online at


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Get a sneak peak at the new SkillZONE

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The countdown is on to the opening of SkillZONE, Gloucestershire’s first interactive educational centre which teaches people to stay safe. And you can get an exclusive look at a public open day on 8th September 2012.

SkillZONE is a new state of the art life size village based in Tuffley, Gloucester, and it officially opens to visitors on 17th September 2012.

Before then, families have the chance to take an exclusive look at the centre during a public open day on Saturday 8th September between 10am and 4pm.

Admission costs £1 a head, with under 5’s going free.

SkillZONE is an interactive learning environment designed to teach people of all ages how to recognise dangerous situations and stay safe.

The 16 zones in SkillZONE cover a range of scenarios including road, rail and water safety, as well as opportunities to cover home and personal safety.

It will be staffed by existing fire service staff and volunteer guides to guide groups around the scenarios, encouraging visitors to identify dangers and actions to reduce risk.

Tim Lanfear, Station Commander for Skills for Life said: “SkillZONE will soon be used to teach school children and other groups about how to keep safe.

“Before then we wanted to give families the opportunity to take a look at the great facilities we have here, from magistrate court rooms to prison cells, and from beaches and parks to railway stations.”

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: “The new SkillZONE will help us to promote community safety and reduce serious injuries and deaths in homes, at work and in local areas.

“The open day is a brilliant opportunity to take a look at the centre and have a fun day out with the family whilst learning more about keeping safe in a fun and informative way.”

Families visiting SkillZONE will be able to take a look at the adjoining new Gloucester South fire station, which is holding a station open day on the same day.

This is the fourth of the new community fire stations which are now all open.

Bookings are now being taken for groups and organisations like schools, to visit SkilLZONE to learn more about the importance of staying safe. To book a space visit

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