All posts tagged: Gloucestershire

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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Gloucester pupils get street-smart for Road Safety Week

Pupils from Churcham Primary School and Ashleworth Church of England Primary School in Gloucester received enhanced and hands-on road safety lessons in SkillZONE’s unique street setting today as part of Road Safety Week (17-23 November).

Andre Bovington from the Road Safety Partnership says; “We are always keen to highlight road safety, especially as it’s darker at this time of year and pupils need to be aware that drivers can’t always see you in poor light. We are also asking pupils to ‘look out for each other’ on their school journey, which is about respecting all road users as well as taking the time to really look for others for safety reasons.”

Children visiting the Gloucester safety centre during the national week were taught a host of road safety tips from SkillZONE’s partner Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership around the national theme of ‘looking out for each other’. These include:

• Take the time to look out for cars, cyclists, pedestrians and children on scooters on their journey to school.
• To always ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ for traffic before crossing the road safely with parents or guardians.
• To be extra careful at this time of year because drivers have less chance of seeing you in darker mornings and evenings.
• To always cross where you can be seen and wherever possible use controlled crossings and to wear something bright when walking near roads in the dark.
• Not to be distracted by mobile phones, chatting to friends or listening to music near roads, particularly when you are about to cross a road.

SkillZONE manager, Donna Potts said of the visit; “We are happy to celebrate Road Safety Week each year with our local schools and I’m pleased we’ve been able to deliver these important road safety messages with young people in a way that they will remember.”

It was the second time Churcham Primary had been to the safety centre with teacher Claire Gobourne saying; “ I think it’s a fantastic learning opportunity to come to SkillZONE. We do cover road safety in school but this really brings those lessons to life.”

Her pupil Amy McKay, 10, adds; “I’m so excited about coming here today. I have learnt a lot about road safety and one of the things it reminded me was to wear my seatbelt at all times, even if just going around the corner.”


Photo: Pupils from Churcham Primary celebrate Road Safety Week from left to right Maddie Skatulla-Emberson, 10, Emily Brit, 10, and Logan Smith, 9.

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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:

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Celebrating 1 year of keeping Gloucestershire safe

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As Gloucestershire’s only safety education centre celebrates its first official birthday on February 1st 2014 figures show around 100 children a week have visited SkillZONE during the school year.

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art village which gives people of all ages the chance to experience 16 real life scenarios, each designed to teach them how to recognise a range of dangerous situations such as on the road, in water, at home or online.

Based in Gloucester, the centre’s main visitor is schools with one in three primary schools in the county benefiting from a trip to SkillZONE since it opened.  Another 15,000 local people have attended SkillZONE events or used the building facilities.

To mark its first birthday balloons and cake will be given to Oakridge Primary School and Bisley Blue Coat Primary School on Thursday January 30th after their SkillZONE tour.

Maria Boon, Head of Prevention at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said; “We are delighted to reach this milestone and to be providing access to safety education to Gloucestershire.”

“Young people’s safety is at the heart of what we do and although there are more schools and community groups we would like to reach, I believe we are on the right track. If you haven’t been to SkillZONE, please put a date in your diary to come along to our open day on Saturday July 19th2014.”

A visit to SkillZONE with Crudwell Cub Scouts was particularly meaningful for Adam Hanwell, 11, who had recently experienced a house fire. His father Tom Hanwell says; “We came home to six foot flames coming out of the chimney and all the emergency services were there. It was completely alien to my son and he couldn’t understand it.”

“At the end of SkillZONE he knew and respected what the fire fighters and emergency services do. It taught him what to do in an emergency and he wouldn’t be afraid to call for help now. Our scouts valued the trip so much we will come again. “

The centre has also been used for a wide range of community events including Older People’s Month, Gangculture Day, Black History Month, a Women in Islam event, Child Accident Prevention Week and safety courses for young mums.

SkillZONE’s partner, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, regularly enjoys using the venue to train drivers. It trains over 12,000 drivers each year and many come through the SkillZONE. Courses run at the centre include seminars for lollipop ladies and men, advance motorcycle riding courses, cyclist training, drivers caught using mobile phones, speed awareness courses and hosting special events such as the launch of its annual Anti Drink Drive Campaign or Road Safety Week. 

Used by all walks of life from clubs like Brownies to the Bangladeshi community, the 2 hours tours on safety in SkillZONE’s village are run by volunteers and Stroud Wardens.

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Dramatic campaign launch as deaths increase

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The Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership is launching its 2013 anti drink driving campaign today at SkillZONE as the national number of drink drive deaths increases following decades of steady decline.

The Partnership figures reveal that during December and based on last year’s data, 23 families across the UK will lose a loved one in a sudden, violent and preventable tragedy.

In Gloucestershire last year, 2 collisions every single week involved somebody who took the risk of drinking and driving and from these, 31 people received fatal or serious injuries. Based on these figures, the Partnership is more determined than ever to drive home the anti drink drive message.

This year’s campaign, Eat, Think, Be Merry will combine police enforcement with a broad scale innovative media campaign across the county.

The launch of the campaign will focus on the devastating impact of a serious road collision. The streetscape at Skillzone, the county’s education centre, will be setup to simulate the scene of a crash to illustrate the most serious consequence of combining drinking with driving.

However the personal and social consequences of a drink drive conviction run far deeper than most people think. These can range from imprisonment, to large fines, a loss of a driving license for a minimum of 12 months and a criminal record. The Partnership will be joined by a recently convicted motorist who is willing to share the true affects of a drink drive prosecution.

You can find out more information on the campaign here.

Here is a short video featuring Garry Handley from The Citizens article covering the Drink Drive Campaign Launch 2013.

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