Fire chief issues safety advice

Cleveland’s Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton is urging people to take extra care to protect themselves and others from the risks of fire and to stay safe on the roads, during industrial action planned for:

  • Wednesday 25 February from 7am until Thursday 26 February 7am (24 hours)

As with previous industrial action the Brigade will be providing a reduced emergency response service, so is appealing to people only to call 999 if they really do need a fire engine.

Mr Hayton said, “During the industrial action we will still be responding to 999 calls, but we are asking members of the public to take extra care and be vigilant.

“We are also urging people to follow some simple safety rules to help them and others stay safe during the 24-hour period of industrial action. In terms of cooking, the best advice is never leave your cooking unattended and ensure you don’t get a build-up of fat in your oven or grill pans and ensure you have working smoke alarms in your home and to check them every week.

“We want to keep people safe on the roads so also ensuring your car is roadworthy and maintained at all times along with careful driving, which means driving to the conditions of the road and not the speed limits particularly when there is poor visibility. This will greatly reduce the risk of an accident.”

Our top home safety advice includes:

  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of your home and test them every week.
  • Stand by your pan – take pans off the heat and turn off the hob and/or grill if you have to leave the kitchen when cooking.
  • Don’t drink and fry – fires start when you fall asleep when cooking food.
  • Keep your cooker and grill pan clean – burnt food and fat can and does cause fires.
  • Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life.
  • Switch off all electrical appliances that don’t need to be left on and close all doors and windows.
  • Plan your escape routes and keep them clear of obstructions.
  • Stub it out, right out – make sure your cigarette, cigar or pipe is out when you’ve finished smoking it.
  • Make sure your family has an escape plan and  all family members know it.
  • Candles should be burnt in a suitable holder and never leave the room where they are burning.
  • If you do have a fire – get out, stay out and call 999

Remember a two minute check can prevent a wreck! Our top road safety advice is:

  • Fuel – Do you have sufficient fuel for the journey you are making? When do you plan to refuel? Do you have sufficient money? Which garage will you use?
  • Lights – Do all of your lights work? This includes your indicators, headlights,      rear lights and fog lights
  • Oil – Have you checked your oil, is there an oil warning light on your dashboard? If so don’t ignore it!
  • Water – Check your coolant levels. Do you have sufficient screen wash at the appropriate concentration to resist freezing?
  • Electrics – Check demisters, air conditioning and anti-lock braking systems
  • Rubber – Have you checked your tyres, do they have sufficient tread and are      they correctly inflated? Are your wiper blades free from tears and in a good condition?
  • Self – Are you fit to drive and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs? If you need to wear glasses or contact lenses for driving use them. Are you alert, stress free, not fatigued?

If you have a business, follow these top safety tips:

  • Appoint Fire Wardens throughout your business as they can increase the safety of your premises and employees
  • Ensure you comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order – details can be found at
  • Service fire alarm systems regularly to ensure early detection of fire
  • Remove rubbish daily if needed and use metal bins
  • Store all outside combustible materials well away from premises
  • Ensure regular maintenance programmes for all electrical and mechanical equipment
  • Turn off all electrical equipment when not in use
  • Do not use adaptors, fit extra sockets
  • Ensure portable appliance testing is up to date (PAT Test)
  • Do not leave food cooking unattended, including microwaves and toasters
  • Adopt good daily cleaning procedures for spills
  • Replace all open flame heaters with oil-filled radiated heaters
  • Do not place combustible materials above or near to heaters

Ian Hayton added: “Our priority during this industrial action period, as with previous ones, is to respond to those priority calls where a life may be at risk or someone needs to be rescued. If we respond to non-emergency calls then those most in need could be at risk.

“During strike action we do find ourselves in an unusual situation where we must prioritise our calls for those who are most in need of our assistance. However, I must emphasise that you should still call 999 in an emergency so that an experienced control room operator can deal with your situation.”

For more safety advice for your home, business or when you are out and about on the roads, visit You can also follow us on Twitter (@clevelandfb) or Facebook (/clevelandfb) for information about the industrial action and much more.