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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Warning of the dangers from carbon monoxide after newly installed alarm activated at vulnerable Pembrokeshire resident’s home

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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Safety Team are urging those with fuel burning appliances, fires, and stoves in the community to install working Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors following a lucky escape by a Milford Haven resident after a ‘Safe & Well’ visit by the Fire and Rescue Service.

On-Call Firefighters Neil Phillips and Huw Davies who are currently assisting the Community Safety Team with safe and well visits attended a property of a resident in Milford Haven, following a referral from the Pembrokeshire Community Alarm Service.

The Pembrokeshire community alarm service is an emergency telephone service with special features to suit the visually impaired, hard of hearing and people with mobility and other disabilities.

During the visit, the firefighters fitted a Carbon Monoxide detector, that was linked to the community alarms system, after noting that there was a gas fire appliance within the property.

Later that same day, Milford Haven Fire Station were called to the property after the CO detector started to sound and automatically dialled out to the alarm system. Crews established that there was a problem with the gas fire within the property and safeguarded the resident by working with their utilities company to isolate the fireplace.

Will Stephenson, Crew Manager for Community Safety in Pembrokeshire added: “Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and this incident is a clear example of. how important carbon monoxide detectors are in the home. The team were relieved that they were able to avert a potential tragedy this time and we urge others to consider the risks associated with fuel burning appliances.

“This incident also emphasises the importance of working collaboratively with our partner agencies in our communities, as without that referral the consequences could have been much worse, and also the importance of our retained firefighters carrying out ‘Safe and Well’ visits.”

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Carbon Monoxide is produced when certain fuels are not properly burnt. This includes gas, oil and solid fuels such as coal, coke and wood. Carbon Monoxide can also seep into properties via shared flues or chimneys and can even permeate through brick walls and plaster.

Karen Jones, Head of Community Safety for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service added: “Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, no taste or smell. Fuel burning appliances such as stoves, fires, boilers and water heaters can produce carbon monoxide if they are incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained, or if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.

“It is vital that those with such appliances ensure that they are serviced regularly, flues are kept clear, homes are well ventilated and working carbon monoxide detectors are installed in the correct areas of the home and that they are also regularly tested.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have provided further information on what you can do to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning on their website.

A ‘Safe & Well’ check can be completed by the Fire and Rescue Service by calling 0800 169 1234 or via their website referral form.

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Lead image: Neil and Huw at MAWWFRS Pembrokeshire Community Safety Team

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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

New joint fire and ambulance initiative aims to safeguard vulnerable people at home

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THE Welsh Ambulance Service has partnered with fire and rescue services to launch a new initiative to better protect vulnerable people at risk of an accident in their home.

The new system allows ambulance crews to e-refer at-risk patients to their fire and rescue service counterparts in North, Mid and West and South Wales for a Safe and Well check.

Fire crews can then visit the property to mitigate any risks.

Nikki Harvey, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Safeguarding, said: “Ambulance crews go to a patient’s property to deliver medical interventions, but often while they’re there, they’ll spot things in the home which raise a red flag.

“It could be that there isn’t a smoke alarm, that electrical sockets are overloaded or that there’s a build-up of fat on cooking appliances, all of which present a fire hazard.

“It could be that the patient has cigarette burns on their clothes or furniture, or that the patient’s hoarding has blocked an escape route.

“The new referral form – which our crews complete on an iPad – streamlines the process completely and makes it easier than ever before to enlist the support of fire service colleagues and safeguard that patient.

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“Anything that we can do collectively to improve patient safety, mitigate the risk of accidents and prevent harm could reduce 999 calls in the future.”

Tim Owen, Community Safety Manager at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, on behalf of the three Welsh fire and rescue services, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service and the regional fire services in Wales work together operationally every day.

“This agreement will enable us to extend this work, identifying those most at risk and vulnerable in our communities to make them safer.

“The sharing of information will enable us to develop the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, targeting our services to those in most need of support.

“It will also provide a template for promoting future joint working.”

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(Lead image: Welsh Ambulance Service Trust)

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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Council urges people to attend organised fireworks displays

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Swansea Council is urging residents to attend organised fireworks displays rather than light up their own this Bonfire Night season.

The Council is supporting police, fire and other emergency services to encourage people not to let off fireworks in their gardens or in the street.

Instead they’re calling on people to enjoy themselves responsibly by following the Firework Code, keeping pets indoors and being mindful of neighbours.

The council is organising a free fireworks display in Swansea Bay on November 12 so that residents don’t have to arrange their own.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism said: “Fireworks can be noisy and if they’re not managed extremely carefully, they’re a danger to bystanders and the people setting them off.

“On top of that noisy fireworks, especially those that are at unplanned events or in the street, are upsetting for many people and alarming to pets too.

“So we are urging people who want to enjoy the fireworks to go to an organised display or come along to our free fireworks event next week.  

“These events will have been advertised in advance so that people can make plans accordingly.”

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Swansea Council’s trading standards teams have also been in touch with businesses and retailers selling fireworks to make sure they are abiding by regulations on fireworks sales, especially to those who are under-age.

The Council’s own fireworks display will be free once again this year, just not on 5 November.

With thousands of families and individuals are expected to attend, they’ll enjoy the show on the wide open spaces of Swansea Beach and the prom.

The council say that high tides mean that a show on November 5 isn’t possible for this location, so the best alternative date – Friday, November 12 – is when the show will take place. Low tide that evening will means maximum space for spectators.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Three dead in Haverfordwest paddleboarding incident

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Dyfed Powys Police are reporting that three people have died and another remains in hospital following a multi-agency river rescue in Pembrokeshire yesterday.

Calls for help were received shortly after 9am yesterday (Saturday 20 October) after a group of nine adults paddleboarding on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest got into difficulty.

Dyfed Powys Police say that the exact circumstances surrounding the incident is still being investigated.

Sadly two women and a man died at the scene. A woman remains in critical condition in hospital.

A further five people were rescued without injury.

A member of the public who is believed to have entered the water to attempt a rescue later exited the water safely.

The Quay Street area of Haverfordwest was cordoned off for several hours with the public asked to avoid the area while a search of the river was carried out.

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Thirty firefighters from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, including specialist wading crews and swift water rescue specialists were also part of the rescue.

Two fire service boats were launched to assist with bank and river searches, with the crews working closely with Coastguard teams.

There was Helicopter support from the National Police Air Service, Coastguard and Wales Air Ambulance.

The lifeboat stationed at Angle was also part of the rescue operation.

The incident occurred while flood warnings were in place on the river following recent heavy rain.

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Welsh Ambulance Service attended with several ambulances, and took the injured woman to nearby Withybush Hospital.

More than 20 police officers attended the scene, which remained cordoned off until 5pm.

Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Rees from Dyfed Powys Police said that a full investigation was already underway, but at this stage his thoughts were focussed on the loved ones of those who had died and the injured paddleboarder who remains in hospital.

He thanked emergency service colleagues for their swift support, and the public for their patience throughout the incident.

DCI Rees has appealed to anyone who may have information about the incident to contact them through a dedicated website.

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A Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) spokesman said: “A team of investigators from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch has deployed to Haverfordwest to undertake a preliminary assessment of the accident, working in cooperation with other agencies.

“The aim of the MAIB’s preliminary assessment is to help in determining the way forward.”

Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, Haverfordwest Town Councillor Thomas Tudor said: “Today a terrible tragedy unfolded on the River Cleddau in the Castle Ward of Haverfordwest.

“I would like to extend my sympathies to the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy and I would like to thank the emergency services for their brave efforts in tackling this issue.

“I would also like to thank the staff from the Bristol Trader and Vaughans Radio who provided help and support for the emergency services during this difficult operation.”

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(Lead image: Jaggery / Geograph)

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