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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Fire Service issues warning about panic buying and storing fuel

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The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) – the organisation that represents the most senior fire officers in the UK – is calling on the public not to panic buy and store quantities of fuel to reduce the risk of injury.

The warning comes as fuel stations across the country are faced with shortages initially caused by the nationwide lack of HGV drivers, but exacerbated by panic buying amongst motorists, with filling stations seeing huge increases in the quantity of fuel sold since the crisis began.

In a statement, a spokesperson from the NFCC said: “Storing fuel in a car, the workplace or at home can create a fire hazard due to its highly flammable and combustible nature. This can cause a serious risk of injury, loss of life and damage to not only people’s properties but to others in the vicinity.

“As well as causing a fire risk, the vapour can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and exposure to high concentrations, particularly in confined spaces, can cause dizziness and unconsciousness.

“The law also clearly states only 30 litres of petrol can be stored at home or at non workplace premises – without having to inform the local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA).

“Stockpiling could also put unnecessary pressure on fire and rescue services across the country if there is an increase in fuel related fires and incidents

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“However, if people have brought additional fuel, it must be stored in suitable portable or metal containers or a demountable fuel tank.”

What containers can I store excess fuel?

  • Plastic containers storing up to 10 litres.
  • Metal containers storing up to 20 litres.
  • Demountable fuel tank up to 30 litres.

NFCC is also urging those who may have brought additional fuel to take extra precautions, including:

  • No smoking and no naked lights in the vicinity.
  • Decant fuel in the open air – not inside a garage or shed.
  • Use a pouring spout or funnel.

(Lead image: South Wales Fire and Rescue Service)

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Carmarthenshire

‘Strong evidence’ Nantycaws recycling centre fire caused by battery incorrectly discarded in blue recycling bag

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Carmarthenshire Council are urging householders in Carmarthenshire not to dispose of batteries in black or blue bin bags.

It comes after strong evidence suggests that a fire in Carmarthen’s Nantycaws Recycling Centre last April which caused millions of pounds of damage may have been started by a battery that was disposed of in a blue recycling bag.

The fire destroyed the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) and the recycling centre was forced to close to the public for five days.

Batteries should be removed from any items that contain them such as rechargeable items, mobile phones, electric toothbrushes, toys, television remotes etc and then disposed of separately at a recycling centre or local battery recycling point.

Batteries that are difficult to remove from items can be recycled at the electrical bay at the recycling centre.

In the last five years, fires suspected or proved of being caused by Lithium Ion Batteries have more than doubled with 48% in 2021 compared to 21% in 2016/2017.

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The most common inappropriate items within bin bags presented for kerbside collection by residents include electrical waste such as toasters children’s toys, hair styling equipment, separate old batteries ranging from standard cell batteries to rechargeable lithium ion batteries and mobile devices.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “Thankfully no one was injured in the fire in Carmarthen’s Nantycaws Recycling Centre last year. Please do not put loose dead batteries or items that hold batteries in your bin bags with other rubbish, it is extremely dangerous and the consequences can be very serious. All our recycling centres have facilities to dispose of your batteries safely as well as many shops and supermarkets that have battery collection points.”

The batteries are initially compromised when unknowingly crew throw the bags containing electrical items into the vehicles which get compacted, they are then transported to the MRF where they can come into contact with further materials that can result in serious consequences.

Richard Vaughan-Williams, Arson Reduction Manager at Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service added: “Lithium-ion batteries can be found in an increasing number of consumer items and disposing of such items has become a growing concern, especially for our partners who operate waste management facilities. Even small lithium-ion batteries can present a very real danger of an intense fire which can then spread quickly. We advise those looking to dispose of batteries to carefully consult waste instructions from their local authority.”

Last year The Environmental Services Association launched a campaign to raise awareness of incorrectly recycling batteries. Millions of pounds worth of damage caused by discarded batteries happens at recycling centres every year and endangers the lives of people who work in them.

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(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Carmarthenshire

Mid and West Wales Chief Fire Officer announces retirement

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Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has announced his intentions to retire from his role in April 2022, bringing to a close his distinguished 37 year.

Since joining South Glamorgan Fire and Rescue Service back in 1984, then moving to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service in 1996, Chris has been extremely fortunate to have carved out a successful career in an area of work that is incredibly challenging, fulfilling and rewarding.

Having risen to the rank of Head of Community Safety in South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Chris joined Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in 2008 as Corporate Head of Community Risk Reduction. From there, and with thanks to a hugely dedicated team at every juncture, he progressed through the ranks to become Chief Fire Officer in 2014.

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Officer, said: “It has and continues to be a real honour and privilege to lead our Fire and Rescue Service. With six months left in my role, I will continue to lead with the dedication and vigour I always have, ensuring that I conclude much of the good work that is taking place and end my tenure with the guarantee that our communities remain safe and our Service effective and efficient.

“Making this decision was incredibly difficult and brings to end a long career that I am incredibly proud of.”

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Cllr Elwyn Williams, Chair of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority said: “On behalf of the Authority, I want to extend my thanks to Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies for the contribution he has made to our Service. During his tenure as Chief Fire Officer, Chris has undertaken his role with the highest professionalism, delivering far reaching success to ensure the ongoing safety of the communities we serve.

“His retirement will be a huge loss to our Service, but his illustrious career places us in a strong position to continue to deliver an efficient and effective Service.”

(Lead image: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service)

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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Work of water safety initiative praised after busy summer

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The dedicated work of a Tenby team promoting water safety has been hailed following one of the busiest summers on record.

The Tenby Water Safety Initiative is made up of representatives of Pembrokeshire County Council, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the RNLI.

Throughout the summer the group has been providing water safety advice alongside banners and posters supported by social media messaging, highlighting potential dangers of the waters around Pembrokeshire.

Local shops and businesses supported the messaging by displaying posters and stickers in their premises.

Tenby Harbour has been a particular focus, where Water Safety Group members have engaged with the predominantly young people who have traditionally jumped into the water from the harbour walls.

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Those wanting to jump have been informed of the dangers, including the fact that boats often cannot see people swimming as they approach the harbour.

Harbourmaster Chris Salisbury, said: “I would like to thank all the agencies that provided time and input to the Tenby Water Safety group.

“While we have not stopped the jumping at Tenby Harbour it has proved to be a great opportunity to raise awareness and has provided vital safety information around the dangers of jumping into all waters not just Tenby Harbour.

“The information has been delivered in many different formats across the county to best reach the young people of Pembrokeshire and visitors alike.”

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RNLI Lifeguard Manager Chris Rigby said that so manyaccidents that happen around the coast could be avoided so it was great to be part of the Tenby Water Safety Initiative to try to help reduce the the number of people getting into trouble. 

Chris added: “The Tenby Water safety initiative has demonstrated that Multi Agency work had succeeded in informing members of the public of the dangers in and around the working Harbour of Tenby. 

“It has allowed us to take a non-authorative approach to engaging with tourists, holiday makers, and locals alike and has provided a platform for us to promote the safe use of waters in and around the harbour whilst enjoying the picturesque scenery and atmosphere.”

Station Manager Jeremy Trew, Youth Intervention Manager with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said the work between partners will continue to deliver water safety education.

This will also aim to reduce the anti-social behaviour that is sometimes associated with the dangerous use of the harbour area.

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Kelly Davies, Senior Practitioner, Pembrokeshire Youth Service and Lead for Tenby Water Safety, commended the efforts of all those involved. 

“By bringing together experts in the field of water safety and local knowledge we have been able to approach the initiative from an information, factual point of view and have tried to make the message very clear to all who visit Tenby. Enjoy our waters, but do so safely and know the dangers.”

Kelly added: “I would like to thank the Harbourmaster, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue, the RNLI and Leisure services for their continued support and commitment in raising the awareness of the Tenby Water Safety Initiative.’

In any marine emergency, dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Lead image: Chris Salisbury (Harbour Master), Jeremy Trew (Station Manager – Fire & Rescue Service) Chris Powles (Targeted Youth Team Manager), Jonathan Williams (Senior Youth Worker). (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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