At least 91 people were injured in kitchen fires in our region over the last year, with cooking appliances known to have caused 82 of the incidents. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is urging people to cook safely with a new campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of ‘the usual suspects’ for causing kitchen fires, including chip pans, distraction and carelessness. 300 kitchen fires recorded in 2018/19 Chip pans continue to be a problem and these types of fire can have the most devastating consequences"Karen Soady, Station Manager for Prevention and Education explained: “The kitchen still proves to be the most dangerous room in the house for accidental fires. We recorded nearly 300 kitchen fires during 2018/19, and that number doesn’t include smaller incidents where residents have put the fire out themselves rather than calling us. “The majority of these fires were entirely preventable, with most of them being caused by people getting distracted or being careless while cooking. Chip pans continue to be a problem and these types of fire can have the most devastating consequences. “We’ll be using our social media channels to share safety advice for homes and businesses, as well as kitchen fire case studies. We hope that this campaign will make people think twice about staying safe while cooking and understand what they need to do if a fire does start.” The campaign’s main messages are: Never leave cooking unattended. If you’re cooking with hot oil, don’t fill your pan more than one third full. If a fire does start at home, don’t throw water on it. Instead, get out, stay out and call 999. Don’t cook if you’ve had too much to drink or you’re taking medication that makes you drowsy. Never leave tea towels, oven gloves or other flammable items too close to the heat. Check that cookers are turned off when you’re not using them. Test your smoke alarms Next week, TWFRS Prevention and Education teams will be visiting shopping centres across Tyne and Wear to hand out a ‘recipe for disaster’ – top tips on what not to do in the kitchen.
A former cadet, who went on to volunteer with the fire service has now started working at the station where it all began. Tamsin Carmichael was just 12 years old when she joined the West Denton Fire Cadet unit. When she turned 18 last year, she became a volunteer with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service as a cadet instructor at her former cadet branch. And now the 18-year-old from Blakelaw has come full circle by starting her working career at West Denton. Playing a role in creating safest community It’s brilliant to be able to have a job for an organization I’m so passionate about and play a role in creating the safest community"Tamsin said: “My grandad was a firefighter for 30 years so that’s where my interest in the fire service began. When I found out I could become a cadet I knew that I’d love it. “It feels like coming home having been here at West Denton as a fire cadet, supporting the cadets as an instructor and now starting my new role as a Fire Safety Clerk. It’s brilliant to be able to have a job for an organization I’m so passionate about and play a bigger role in creating the safest community.” Overseeing the West Denton Fire Cadet branch is instructor Karen Soady who has known Tamsin from her cadet days. Mentoring and inspiring younger cadets Karen said: “Tamsin joined the cadets when she was 12 and made an immediate impact both with the instructors and also her fellow cadets. She always gave 100% and attended as many outside events as possible to give back to the local community. This led to Tamsin representing her cadet branch to receive a Social Action Award from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Her main and most valuable contribution has always been supporting, mentoring and inspiring the younger cadets" “Her main and most valuable contribution has always been supporting, mentoring and inspiring the younger cadets; making them feel at home very quickly and developing them into confident young people. Since reaching 18 this has continued, as Tamsin has become a volunteer with her own cadet unit where she continues to motivate and support all our cadets and offer invaluable support to the core instructors. “The fact that she has now secured a position as a Fire Safety Clerk with the Service at the same station where she attended and now supports cadets is no more than she deserves. Tamsin is an exceptional young woman who continues to inspire other young people around her. Everyone at West Denton Fire Cadet unit is very proud of her.” First point of contact for the community Tamsin started her role as Fire Safety Clerk within the Fire Safety department of the Service in mid-May. Her new role as Fire Safety Clerk will involve her being the first point of contact for the public and business community"Richie Rickaby, Head of Fire Safety, at TWFRS said: “I’d like to welcome Tamsin into the Fire Safety department. Her new role as Fire Safety Clerk will involve her being the first point of contact for the public and business community when directing initial enquiries to the Fire Safety office. “Other duties will include updating databases, providing support and facilitating the Fire Safety Inspector’s appointments with business to ensure effective and efficient use of resources. She will gain knowledge of other departments to understand their responsibilities which will ensure she can support customer needs when dealing with enquiries. “Tamsin will also be working with key stakeholders such as local authorities including building control departments ensuring we provide timely responses to Building Regulation consultations, ensuring we keep the businesses of Tyne and Wear safe.”
Zeeshan Ayub has been presented with Youth Focus North East’s Most Inspirational Young Person of the Year award after being nominated by West Denton Fire Cadet Leader, Prevention and Education Manager Karen Soady. Zeeshan joined the Fire Cadets aged 11 and rose to the rank of Watch Manager, which is the highest rank within the cadet program. Karen nominated him for the award in recognition of his ongoing commitment to creating equal opportunities for all. Goal to become TWFRS’ CFO It’s been a busy week for Zeeshan as he also celebrated his 18th birthday and therefore his last day as a Fire Cadet. This means he’s now in a position to apply to become a whole time firefighter in future – and his long term goal is to become TWFRS’s next Chief Fire Officer! Being a Fire Cadet has taught him crucial life skills and the importance of teamwork and community. A final word from Zeeshan: “Remember, it’s not the uniform that makes the firefighter – it’s the person who wears it!”