Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and partners are hosting their annual water safety event on Newcastle Quayside on Sunday 5th May. The event will take place between 11am and 3pm, close to the Millennium Bridge. This year, the event will feature special guest Trent Maxwell, better known as Lifeguard Maxi from hit TV show Bondi Rescue. Firefighters from both Tyne and Wear and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Services will demonstrate rescues from the River Tyne – using live casualties including Maxi and TWFRS Area Manager for Community Safety Lynsey McVay. Importance of understanding the risks Around 50% of the people who drowned in 2017 did not intend to go in the water, they were just walking or running"Area Manager McVay said: “Around 50% of the people who drowned in 2017 did not intend to go in the water, they were just walking or running nearby. This shows the importance of understanding the risks, knowing what to do if you fall in and how to help if you see someone in trouble in the water. “Our Swiftwater Rescue Team is made up of highly trained specialists and this event is a great opportunity to watch them in action, but we want to see a reduction in the number of incidents that they attend.” ‘Live Learn Survive’ safety workshops Maxi became the youngest professional lifeguard to patrol the world famous Bondi Beach at age 16, before training as a firefighter with New South Wales Fire and Rescue. As an ambassador for the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), he’s bringing his ‘Live Learn Survive’ safety workshops to UK schools and clubs. Being aware of the risks is so important – especially for young people" He explained: “The River Tyne may be a little colder than I’m used to, but if our rescue demonstrations make anyone think twice around open water then it’s worth it. Being aware of the risks is so important – especially for young people.” Rookie lifeguard camp for kids Working with South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club (SSVLG), Maxi is also leading a rookie lifeguard camp for kids aged 6-16 on Saturday 4th May. The camp will take place from 1pm to 4pm on Sandhaven Beach, South Shields. Pre-booking through the SSVLG website is essential as places are limited. TWFRS will be sharing plenty of water safety advice and showcasing the work of the Swiftwater Rescue Team on their social media channels throughout #BeWaterAware week (29th April to 5th May).
From Monday, March 18th Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) will use Arson Awareness Week to provide targeted information to local residents and businesses on how to reduce the risk of arson. In the last year TWFRS communities have experienced an increase in deliberate fires, with wheelie bins being a prime target. From March 2018 – March 2019, TWFRS has attended 723 wheelie bin fires that were classified as arson. Causing Significant Damage Wheelie bin fires cause significant damage to the environment and pose a risk to the perpetrators and anyone walking nearby – especially as bins can often contain aerosols that explode when heated. TWFRS advise residents to: Store all wheelie bins away, especially at night to avoid them becoming a target Only put out your wheelie bin on the collection day and return it to your property as soon as possible If possible wheelie bins should be stored securely behind locked gates Do not overfill your wheelie bins or leave loose rubbish around them. In 2017/18 there were 65 fires in commercial premises in Tyne and Wear, with insurance claims costing £1,660,360. Anti-Social Behavior Many businesses don’t recover from a fire. But businesses can help themselves by: Not storing combustibles or unsecured containers against buildings – maintaining a gap where possible. Not allowing rubbish to accumulate; it should be removed regularly. Review security and access to your site. Share information with neighboring businesses. Arson is a blight to many communities and businesses. It can bring fear to residents" TWFRS Area Manager – Community Safety, Lynsey McVay commented: “Arson is a blight to many communities and businesses. It can bring fear to residents, damages our local environment and can have a major impact on our economy with many businesses unable to recover after becoming victims of arson. But there are some very simple things that we can all do to protect ourselves from arson – from bringing in your wheelie bin as soon as you can, to businesses ensuring the environment around their premises is clear from rubbish. Arson is often associated with anti-social behavior and we would always advise that if you have any concerns you should report them to Northumbria Police.” Deliberately Setting Fires TWFRS has produced a leaflet for businesses and offers support. It has also produced a series of videos which are available on their website and on their social media channels to help stop residents and businesses becoming the victims of arson. Northumbria Police’s Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton said: “If you are deliberately setting fires in a public place then you are committing a criminal offense and will face police action. Fires can have devastating consequences and we have seen numerous cases where they have led to serious injury or even a loss of life. Our colleagues at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service do an incredible job to educate young people about fire safety while also responding to calls for service. We will continue to support the amazing work they do but anyone who puts life at risk by setting an illegal fire should expect a visit from the police.”
Firefighters are delivering a targeted initiative in Hetton-le-Hole to tackle anti-social behavior and deliberate fires in the area. Three days of activity is taking place from Monday until Wednesday to raise awareness of the dangers of anti-social behavior and how local residents can stop their wheelie bins becoming targets of arson. Deliberately Starting Fires Parents can’t always know where their children are, but they can talk to them about the risks" TWFRS Area Manager – Community Safety, Lynsey McVey said: “Not only do deliberate fires present huge risks to the perpetrators, cause damage to local properties and the environment, they also present a challenge to us. If we are attending deliberate fires, we are unavailable to attend other fires or emergencies." “Parents can’t always know where their children are, but they can talk to them about the risks – risks that could leave them scarred for life or end up with a criminal record. Deliberately starting fires can quickly turn into something very serious.” Firefighters will be joined by Northumbria Police to speak to residents in Langdale Street and the surrounding streets in Hetton-le-Hole following a spike of anti-social behavior in the area. Reduce Arson Attacks Station Manager Kevin Burns said: “Recently there have been incidents where groups of young people have been taking wheelie bins and setting them on fire in the nearby underpass and when crews have arrived to put out the fires they’ve been attacked by bricks, bottles and other missiles. This behavior is not only reckless but dangerous too.” We will also be on a walkabout of the estate with Northumbria Police and local councilors" “We’ll be carrying out Home Safety Checks with local residents, speaking to them about ways to reduce arson attacks on their wheelie bins, dropping off leaflets, and carrying out a litter pick to reduce waste that can be a target for anti-social behavior. We will also be on a walkabout of the estate with Northumbria Police and local councilors to discuss areas most frequently targeted.” Anti-Social Behavior Inspector Nick Gjorven of Northumbria Police, said: “We are committed to taking a firm approach to help reduce incidents of anti-social behavior and ensure our residents and businesses feel safe. That is made possible by working closely with partners, and this is an example of the work we are doing alongside other organizations to tackle fire-related anti-social behavior.” “Communities should not have to put up with the anti-social behavior of a few individuals, and we understand that the actions of a minority can have a significant effect on those living and working in the area. By working together with the public and our partners, we can tackle this problem effectively. We would urge anybody who has any concerns to speak to us.”