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Safety

News items related to general safety, public safety information, key safety initiatives or projects.

No need to speed

A car's speedometer

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is supporting this year’s BRAKE National Road Safety Week 2020 (16- 22 Nov 2020).

This year’s campaign focuses on the ‘what, why and where’ of speed – and the wide-ranging impacts it can have on different people in different environments.

Road safety week no need to speed graphic

Peter Allington, of WMFS’s Road Casualty Reduction Team, said; “We work closely with local road safety partners to coordinate our road safety prevention activities.

“Our ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions across the West Midlands by 40% over the next 10 years, as set out in the West Midlands Regional Road Safety Strategy.

“We fully support BRAKE’s ‘No Need To Speed’ campaign. We would urge all drivers to drive safely, within the speed limit or road conditions. This is especially important where there are more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and e-scooter riders.”

Slower traffic can make places feel more welcoming for the people who live, work, and play in them. Choosing, for example, to walk or cycle to get around can also bring health, fitness and wellbeing benefits.

Did you know?

Almost a quarter of road traffic collisions involve someone who was driving too fast (Source: Department for Transport 2020)

Every year, more than 3,000 children and young people aged 0-17 are killed or suffer life-changing injuries on Britain’s roads Department of Transport, 2019)

Road traffic collisions are the biggest killer of children and young people aged 5-29 worldwide (Source: World Health Organisation, 2019)

Check out our ‘On the Roads’ advice and safety tips: https://www.wmfs.net/safety/on-the-road/

Have a happy, safe Diwali!

Diwali divas in a circle

This Diwali (Sat 14-Sun 15 Nov), West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is urging families to celebrate with extra care.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the biggest celebrations in the Sikh, Hindu and Jain calendar. Fireworks, candles and oil lamps, as well as special meals with family and friends, usually add to the festive mood.

This year, however, restrictions on social gatherings because of the pandemic and the current lockdown, mean that many public events have been cancelled – meaning that more people might be tempted to use fireworks at home.

Diwali divas in a circle

Between 2014 and 2019, WMFS firefighters responded to some 1,760 firework and bonfire-related incidents. During the same period, there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales, with 38% of these involving under-15s and the majority being male.

Divas and candles also have the potential to cause serious burns and fires if not used and extinguished properly. Families are being encouraged to take care with hot oil and ensure that traditional clothing, such as saris, and long hair are kept away from naked flames.

Watch Commander Gurpreet Gill, of WMFS, said: “Diwali is a really special time for me and my family, as well as thousands of other households across the West Midlands. This year the celebrations will be much smaller and feel very different, but it’s important we all keep a focus on safety.

“Please be sure to follow the current rules on social gatherings, and take extra care with candles and divas – LEDs can be a safe, colourful alternative. If you’re cooking up a feast, never leave your cooking unattended, be careful with hot oil and keep an eye on the kids in the kitchen.

“Our biggest concern this year is the use of fireworks in back gardens. If you feel you must go ahead with your own Diwali firework celebration, plan ahead and remember that fireworks are explosives. Buy suitable, legal fireworks from a licensed supplier and ensure you have enough outdoor space to use them safely – usually between five and 25 metres – in accordance with the instructions.”

For more fire safety advice and guidance to keep you and your family safe during Diwali, please visit https://www.wmfs.net/safety/at-home/

Recently-introduced Government legislation gives police the powers to fine people who break lockdown measures. Restrictions on social gatherings – both nationally and locally – are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ease pressures on the NHS.

Think ‘Gas Safety’

Gas flame on a gas cooker showing a single ring lit.

As winter approaches, and with many people continuing to work and spend more time at home because of COVID-19, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is joining calls in Gas Safety Week 2020 to ‘think gas safety’.

The initiative, now in its tenth year, aims to raise awareness of the importance of gas safety – as well as of the dangers of poorly-maintained gas appliances.

Gas hob with two rings lit

In the three years to March 2020, WMFS firefighters attended 15 fires where gas was the main source of ignition (domestic and non-domestic settings). They also responded to 615 gas leak incidents – with just over 80 per cent of these being at people’s homes.

Pete Wilson, WMFS’s Group Manager for Prevention, said: “Many of us rely on, and perhaps even take for granted, our gas appliances. However, if you don’t keep boilers, heaters and cookers in good working order you risk gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“It’s important that you only use a registered and qualified Gas Safe engineer to carry out servicing and repairs. Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself.

“We’re also urging people to have carbon monoxide detectors and alarms in their homes. It’s a highly-poisonous gas which can kill quickly, with no warning, but an alarm will alert you if there are dangerous levels in your home.”

It is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out domestic and commercial gas work to be registered, and comply with the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998.

Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally-qualified engineers and can help you find an engineer in your area: GasSafeRegister.co.uk.

More top tips to help you stay ‘gas safe’:

  • if you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999
  • know the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning: headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness
  • keep up-to-date with Gas Safety Week updates on social media by following @GasSafeRegister and the hashtags #GSW20 and #GasSafetyWeek.

Gas Safety Week 2020 starts Monday 14 September.

Gas safety register logo and telephone number
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