Moving away from home and starting university can be daunting, but students and parents can rest assured that a new initiative from Kent Fire and Rescue Service is set to help keep new students safe from fire. The fire service has teamed up with Canterbury Christ Church University to launch a pilot initiative designed to remind students of simple steps they can take to reduce the chance of fire in their halls of residence. Bright and colorful stickers were placed around all 305 university managed student flats, including around1600 bedrooms, ahead of the new influx of students. Stickers serve as a constant reminder The stickers focus on six topics: Avoiding cooking after drinking alcohol Not covering up smoke detectors Keeping the hob clean and clear Not overloading plug sockets Unplugging chargers Unplugging straighteners With stickers dotted around the flats, this will be a constant reminder of how the students can reduce the chance of fire in their accommodation, highlighting the importance of maintaining safety features, such as not covering up smoke detectors. Kent Fire and Rescue Service attends an average of four fires in official student halls of residence each year across Kent and Medway, and a majority of those incidents involve cooking. Taking simple steps to prevent fire Ian Thomson, Assistant Director for Community Safety at Kent Fire and Rescue Service said: “This initiative is such a simple way of jogging the memory of students living on their own for the first time, and encouraging them to take simple steps to help prevent a fire." This type of prevention work is important in order to keep students safe and further reduce the number of fires" “With so many people living under one roof in halls of residence, and most living alone for the first time, this type of prevention work is important in order to keep students safe and further reduce the number of fires. It takes just one pair of straighteners left on, one overheated charger, or cooking left unattended to start a fire – and if the smoke detector is covered up, the consequences could be dire." “So these small reminders could make a big difference to the safety of students and their flat mates." Ensuring students keep themselves safe Sian Waghorn, Accommodation Manager at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “We are delighted to continue our work in partnership with Kent Fire and Rescue Service to ensure our students keep themselves safe and to be aware of potential fire risks during their University experience with us and beyond.” If the pilot is well received by students, the fire service will look to roll the student safety sticker scheme out to more universities and student letting agents across Kent and Medway.
Families across Kent and Medway look set to live safer lives thanks to the help of a new cartoon family called ‘The Byrnes Family’, which was officially unveiled at the Kent County Show by Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) on Friday 6th July 2018. ‘Family safety’ product The brand new approach in helping youngsters understand safety at home, on the road and around water follows extensive research into pioneering techniques into behavior change, which has helped Kent Fire and Rescue Service develop the new ‘family safety’ product. Byrnes family members have been made into life-size mascots to help the KFRS team engage with youngsters Two members of the Byrnes family have been made into life-size mascots to help the team at KFRS engage with youngsters and to encourage them to ‘Learn with the Byrnes’ to keep their family safe. 11 year-old Woody and his younger sister, Elsa who is seven, came to life at the County Show as part of the service’s launch of their activities being delivered over the weekend, all aimed at helping people who visit the KFRS arena live safer lives. Educating youngsters Assistant Director of Community Safety at KFRS, Ian Thomson said, “The Byrnes family forms part of a new approach to safety at KFRS. The family is already helping us to engage with youngsters across Kent and Medway. Each individual member of the Byrnes family faces risks; and they all learn what they need to consider about safety to keep themselves and their family safe. Positive behavior change initiatives have to be innovative to encourage, enable and support people to make better choices for themselves." He adds, “We believe that young people will be influenced to remember the things they see and learn from the Byrnes family, how it relates to them and their family and, we hope, will stay with them for life - positive behaviors and important life skills. Not only this, but we also know that young people are very good at explaining some of the things they learn, either at school or through organizations like KFRS, to their parents – pester power can be very effective.” Family safety activity books The Byrnes family will soon be featured in a series of live animations and has a dedicated Facebook page The Byrnes family will soon be featured in a series of live animations, but are now available to see through a wide variety of images in new products that young people will be given, including activity books and puzzle sheets, as well as a new website dedicated to the family that will be a resource for learning about family safety and having fun at the same time. The Byrnes family also has a dedicated Facebook page that is aimed at parents to help them share some of the useful content with their children in a safe environment, but also to engage with the family at events across the county. KFRS’ Road Safety Experience Ian said, “One of the important areas of the research we carried out explored how ‘family’ is important to the people of Kent and Medway, and that we would do anything to protect those we love the most. So the Byrnes family will be reflecting that in a big way – family, generations, safety and fun.” Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s stand also had important messages about road safety including the dangers of driving under the influence of drink and drugs. There were also interactive, hands-on experiences from KFRS’ Road Safety Experience that explained the importance of wearing your seatbelt and how your reaction times can be impacted when you’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has fitted public access defibrillators (PADs) outside of every fire station across Kent and Medway regions in the UK, along with making them freely available for use by local communities. The rollout of this equipment to 56 KFRS facilities countywide, is intended to give members of the public a better chance of helping to save someone who is in cardiac arrest. When someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest, prompt action by anyone nearby offers their only chance of survival. A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest Automated External Defibrillator A defibrillator (also referred to as an automated external defibrillator or AED) is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest. This high energy shock is called defibrillation. Most people who survive will have needed a shock from a defibrillator to correct a chaotic heart rhythm. KFRS Assistant Director, Ian Thomson said, “When someone goes into cardiac arrest, often close relatives, friends or colleagues feel helpless, but with some basic life-saving skills and access to a defibrillator, they have the potential to make a real difference to the outcome for that person.” Defibrillation and CPR Studies have shown that a shock given within 3 minutes of cardiac arrest provides the best chance of survival and that even one minute of further delay reduces that chance substantially. Further studies have shown that immediate delivery of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) combined with early use of an automated external defibrillator by members of the public gives a person in cardiac arrest the best chance of surviving. If you find someone in cardiac arrest, first make sure you are safe and then immediately call 999 for an ambulance. You should then start basic life support and CPR, and this should be continued until help arrives, to provide the best chance of survival of the casualty. If you have someone with you, ask them to find the nearest defibrillator and bring it to you. Public Access Defibrillators Defibrillators are lightweight, very easy to use and guide the operator through the process with prompts and command Defibrillators are lightweight, very easy to use and guide the operator through the process with prompts and commands. The machines give clear spoken instructions, so no specific training is needed to use them. The equipment analyses precisely the victim’s heart rhythm and will only deliver a shock if it is required. Ian Thomson added, “KFRS already works with South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) to deliver basic life-saving skills, including CPR, to school children and community groups each year as part of an national ‘Restart-a-Heart’ initiative and the provision of PADs at our fire stations is part of our commitment to ensure that as many lives can be saved as possible.” Emergency rescue and aid SECAmb Blue Light Collaboration Manager Matt England said, “We are really pleased that KFRS is increasing the availability of defibrillators in the community, as they can make a real difference to a patient in cardiac arrest. When you dial 999 in a cardiac arrest situation we will provide you with guidance on basic life support and let you know where the nearest PAD is located, as well as sending ambulance resources.” KFRS’s defibrillators are stored outside of each fire station in a clearly marked cabinet. The cabinet is unlocked to save valuable time in an emergency, however an alarm will be triggered to tell us that the defibrillator has been accessed. Firefighter safety Kent Fire and Rescue Service will be donating further PADs to community groups and organizations in order to increase the availability of defibrillators across Kent and Medway and will also be arranging localized defibrillator awareness events to members of the public throughout 2018.