Category Archives: News

Virtual Reality Goggles to be used to educate young drivers

Cleveland Fire Brigade is urging drivers to reduce their speed during this year’s Road Safety Week which takes place 20 – 26 November.

The week, which is hosted by road safety charity Brake, aims to raise awareness about the UK’s speeding problem which causes needless crashes and untold suffering. This year’s theme is Speed Down Save Lives.

Every day, five people are killed, and more than 66 people are seriously injured on UK roads. Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions contributes to 349 fatal crashes and 11,570 crashes in total on roads in Britain last year.

The Brigade, in collaboration with Cleveland Police, North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Local Authority Road Safety Teams will be visiting colleges across Teesside to warn young drivers about the consequences of speeding. As well as delivering the Brigade’s Learn and Live sessions where firefighters, police and paramedics, share their experiences dealing with road traffic crashes, the students will also get a chance to use virtual reality goggles to experience first-hand the devastating consequences of being involved in a car crash. Fire crews will also be carrying out rescue displays showing the challenges that emergency responders face when rescuing occupants trapped in vehicle.

Andrew Bright, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Learn and Live Co-ordinator, said: “For the first time this year we will be using Virtual Reality technology to give students an experience of travelling in a vehicle where excess speed and distraction results in tragic consequences. Our intention is not to shock but through our sessions with students hope to influence attitudes and behaviour to improve everyone’s safety. Although the majority of young people are responsible road users, some can be a high risk on the roads and it is vital that we help steer them in the right direction when it comes to road safety. Driving can be unpredictable and if something happens on the road ahead such as a child stepping out from between parked cars it’s a drivers speed that will determine whether they can stop in time and if they can’t stop, how hard they will hit.

“Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in one in four (23%) fatal crashes in Great Britain. This is why we want to educate young or inexperienced drivers from the start to instil in them the importance of driving safety which will hopefully save lives.”

Zoe Lewis, Principal and Chief Executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “Road safety is vitally important and we are pleased to welcome back Cleveland Fire Brigade during this Road Safety Week.

“Middlesbrough College is committed to the welfare of our students, and helping them to understand how to stay safe on the road is just one part of that work.”

More than 100,000 students across Cleveland have experienced the Learn and Live Road Safety programme since its introduction in 2005.

A Two Minute Check Prevents a Wreck

Cleveland Fire Brigade is offering free vehicle winter safety checks and advice at Coulby Newham Fire Station on Saturday 18 November between 10am-4pm.

The event launches the Brigade’s Winter Driving Campaign – A two minute check prevents a wreck – which aims to encourage drivers to be prepared for adverse weather and road conditions as the winter months draw closer. This could include poor visibility, standing water, icy or snowy conditions.

The Brigade will be teaming up with both national and independent garages that will be on hand at the event to carry out the checks. These operators include National Tyres and Autocare and Kwik-Fit. The free two-minute drive-thru checks include tyres, lights, wipers, fluid levels and washer bottle. Motorists will be offered a free screen wash top up, ice-scraper and handy safety advice checklist to get prepared and keep safe on the road.

Andrew Bright, Learn and Live Co-ordinator with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Every year we find that motorists are still getting caught out through not being prepared for winter driving conditions and as a result put themselves and others at unnecessary risk to harm on the road.

All too often serious incidents could have been prevented with a few simple checks and precautions. We urge drivers to give themselves more time when poor weather is expected, ensure their vehicle is road worthy and that they can see and be seen.

Events such as this run by the Brigade over the past few years have helped hundreds of motorists stay safe by highlighting defects that had gone unnoticed but could be quickly addressed to ensure a safer journey.”

Last year’s event saw 72 vehicles checked in the Drive Thru with a shocking 62% of those vehicles found to have one or more faults identified – remember a two minute check could safe a wreck!”

Middlesbrough Council Road Safety Team is supporting the event and will be on hand to provide a range of road safety advice.

Middlesbrough Council’s Road Safety Officer Lynn Hepworth highlights that; “Preparation is key to making sure journeys are as safe as possible, so we urge people to bring their cars in for a quick free check-up. If motorists can’t get to one of our events most reputable garage operators in the area offer similar free winter checks and we would urge motorists to take up the opportunity and keep both safe and legal”.

Be Safe Not Sorry – only attend an organised event

Cleveland Fire Brigade is appealing for everyone to stay safe and only attend an organised display during bonfire celebrations.

Misuse of fireworks at home is the most common cause of injuries and unofficial bonfires not only cause a nuisance to local people and greatly impact on the community as a whole, they tie up fire engines that should be undertaking vital life-saving prevention work or attending real emergencies.

Dave Turton, Head of Community Safety for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Our message this year is simple: Be Safe Not Sorry. It is much safer to leave the handling of fireworks to the experts on secure cordoned off sites for organised displays where you will be well away from danger. Many have music, food and other entertainment and can be great fun in a safe environment.

Every year, children and adults are injured due to the misuse of fireworks and unofficial bonfires.

The most common injuries are to the hand, wrists and eyes and a lot of these are caused by sparklers which is not surprising as they burn at over 2000oC.

Parents may not realise how dangerous sparklers are and we strongly advise not to give them to children.

We want everyone to enjoy this time of year so please heed our advice and remember the safest way to enjoy Bonfire Night is to attend an organised display.”

There are organised displays taking place on:

Wednesday November 1

New Marske. Marske Sports Club.7.30pm. Entry is £3 each or family of 4, £10

Friday November 3

Redcar Rugby Union Football Club, Mackinlay Park, Green Lane, Redcar.  6.30pm. No onsite parking. Tickets are available from the club. Adults, £4 (concessions £2), Family Tickets £10.

Marton Cricket Club, Stokesley Road, Marton, Middlesbrough. Firework display 7.15pm. Adults £4 U16s £3. Advance early bird family ticket £10 (2 Adults 2 U16s) Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday November 4

Skinningrove. Skinningrove beach and seafront. 6.30pm. Free.

Thornaby Cricket Club, Mandale Bottoms, Acklam Road, Thornaby. Firework display 7.15pm. Tickets are now on sale from the Cricket Club. Monday-Friday 7.30pm, Sat-Sun 12.30 pm. Adults £3, u16s £1.50, Family ticket £7 (2 Adults 2 u16s)

Sunday November 5

Stockton Riverside. Fireworks Spectacular. Roadshow from 6.30pm, Firework display 7.30pm. Free.

Seaton Carew Front, Hartlepool. Fireworks Spectacular. Fun fair from 4pm, entertainment and music from 5pm. Display 6.30pm Free.

Corus Sports and Social Centre, South Avenue, Dormanstown, Redcar. Sunday 5 November. 7pm (gates open 6pm). Entry £1.

Acklam Rugby Club, Talbot Park, Saltersgill Avenue, Middlesbrough. Bonfire lit 6pm, firework display 7pm. Tickets priced £5 adults, £3 children, £10 family ticket (2 adults 2 children) available from the club.

Student Fire Safety Week

With new students settling in to their new homes and new routines and returning students getting back in to the swing of all things university, Cleveland Fire Brigade as part of the Fire Kills Campaign, is encouraging all students to have a think about their fire safety.

With all the excitement and opportunity that university life brings, fire safety might not be at the top of your list of priorities,” said Dave Turton, Head of Community Safety. “However, in amongst all your studying and socialising, taking a few moments to think about your accommodation, how you use it and what you might do to reduce any fire risks might save your life.”

By following these Fire Kills campaign top tips, you can help make sure that your student experience is a fire-safe one:

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended and take extra care when frying with oil
  • Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol, especially late at night
  • If you smoke, make sure you put your cigarette out, right out.
  • Keep candles away from flammable surfaces or material that might burn – such as curtains, TVs, bath tubs – and never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Don’t overload plug sockets and switch off electrical equipment such as chargers, hair straighteners and blow dryers when not in use.
  • Make sure you know your escape routes and have a plan B in case your route is blocked.
  • In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Mr Turton added: “Each and every university or college has a person responsible for fire safety. If you spot a fire risk or have any concerns then you should speak to them.”

Commendations for firefighters

Presenting and receiving the commendations (l to r) Councillor Jan Brunton, Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority; Crew Manager Adam Robinson; Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton and Firefighter Andy Shea

Cleveland Fire Brigade firefighters have been commended by Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton for their outstanding actions.

In April this year Firefighter Andy Shea from Thornaby White Watch assisted the police in pulling a man from the River Tees at Stockton in the early hours of the morning and saved his life.

Firefighter Shea was nominated by Mike Picknett, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Head of Emergency Response, who said:  “Firefighter Shea performed his task at night as a single rescue swimmer to a suicidal unpredictable male. Without doubt he helped save his life entered the water in full water rescue gear to recover a man who was unpredictable and non-compliant. He definitely saved his life.”

He was awarded a Certificate of Commendation.

In a separate commendation, the four crew members from Thornaby Green Watch, have been recognised for their professionalism in tackling a high rise flat fire at Anson House in Thornaby in April and then being redeployed immediately to assist with the attempted rescue of a woman from the River Tees at Yarm Bridge.

Dave Turton, Head of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, who nominated the crew for commendation, said: “The crew were involved in two incidents within three hours that unfortunately both involved a fatality. They were unfazed and professional when they were redeployed from the fire to the river rescue with no recovery or reflection time in between.”

Those involved were Crew Manager Adam Robinson and Firefighters Andy Whorlton, Steven Carter and Craig Cass. They were each awarded a Certificate of Appreciation.

Presenting the commendations at a meeting of Cleveland Fire Authority, Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton said: “These commendations are richly merited. They are outstanding examples of the professionalism, pride and passion shown by our firefighters in what are often very difficult circumstances.”