Category Archives: News

Young graduates in line for success

Young people given a kick-start in learning new life skills are graduating with nationally recognised volunteering qualifications.

They are the first to successfully complete a summer programme of courses with Cleveland Fire Brigade after the organisation linked-up with the National Citizen Service (NCS).

The 25 young people, aged 16 and 17, from the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council area, will get their certificates at a special graduation ceremony.

The two courses to date have seen them take part in residential outdoor activities at Ford Castle in Northumberland and a week at Redcar racecourse with presentations from a variety of organisations. These included Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Learn and Live programme, the homelessness charity Centrepoint and the British Red Cross , Mind in Redcar and Cleveland as well as developing team working skills through firefighter training.

Recent participants helped Leonard Cheshire Homes celebrate their 100th birthday by staging a sponsored hose reel run at Marske Hall and raising money to provide residents with an afternoon tea and games.

They also provided afternoon tea at Briarwood Nursing and Residential Home in Eston.

In addition they worked with the MIND mental health charity shop in Redcar to design marketing leaflets, clear-up the flood damaged basement, stock taking and developing resources for parents, toddlers and young children to use.

The programme has been organised by Cleveland Brigade’s Youth Engagement Team and led by Commissioned Services Manager Sue Knott.

They will be awarded nationally recognised volunteering qualifications as well as being presented with a National Citizen Service completion certificate signed by the Prime Minister Theresa May.

Sue Knott said: “It has been hugely rewarding to see these young people tackle a wide variety of issues, grow in confidence and learn new skills which will benefit them in the future. They have really enjoyed working in the community and some have already pledged to continue volunteering in their communities.

“They have all shown tremendous enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and a willingness to learn, which will benefit themselves and the local community. They all richly deserve to graduate and we wish them every success.”

Across the whole of the Tees Valley almost 1,000 teenagers completed NCS this summer, organising around 60 youth-led community projects.

The next NCS programme will be taking place during the autumn half-term and is open to 16 and 17 year olds in year 12, 13 or equivalent provision. Participants will get a chance to experience adventure in the Lake District, meeting new friends and gaining skills, before returning home to deliver a community project that has a lasting impact on the local area. Government backing means the programme never costs more than £50, with bursaries also available.

Cleveland Fire Brigade will be running an NCS programme for local teenagers that departs on Monday October 23. To express an interest call 0191 247 4020 or visit

Safety first for local businesses

Cleveland Fire Brigade will be offering businesses safety advice as part of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) UK Business Safety Week 2017. The week runs from 11th – 17th September and aims to make sure businesses and their staff have the information they need to prevent, protect and respond to fire incidents in the workplace.

The week has been scheduled to run at a time when many businesses will be recruiting additional members of seasonal staff in the run up to the Christmas period. New recruits may not have the same level of fire safety awareness as permanent members of staff, and may not be aware of the steps needed to protect themselves, their customers and colleagues. It’s also a good opportunity to remind employers of the need to review fire risk assessments and training and make sure existing staff know the importance of fire safety.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade said, “This is a timely opportunity to remind employers of their responsibilities, making sure all employees are aware of fire safety and to look at ways of reducing the risk of fire. We will be asking local businesses to:

  • ensure they have taken action to prevent fires in the workplace
  • take action to protect themselves from arson
  • make sure all staff know how to respond appropriately in the event of an incident
  • work with their local fire service to reduce false alarms and enforcement notices

It is all about education rather than enforcement. We are coming up to the busy time of the year with many offices, shops, hotels and pubs recruiting additional seasonal staff and there may be a need to raise general awareness as well as ensuring all procedures are in place and alarms are regularly tested.”

Fire and rescue services across the country will be holding a range of events and activities to engage with businesses in their communities, working with them to help improve their knowledge of fire safety.

Throughout the week Cleveland Fire Brigade staff will be engaging with businesses in their communities, working with them to help improve their knowledge of fire safety.

Business owners are welcome to get free safety advice and information at the following locations:

  • Monday 11 September – Skippers Lane Industrial Estate, Redcar
    • 10am – 12pm Junction of Sotherby Road and Queens Way
    • 12pm – 4pm Junction of Sotherby Road and Wallis Road
  • Tuesday 12 September – Teesside Industrial Estate, Stockton
    • 10am – 4pm Saddler Forster Way
  • Thursday 14 September – Park View Industrial Estate, Hartlepool
    • 10am – 12pm Park View West
    • 2pm – 4pm Usworth Road
  • Friday 15 September – Riverside Park Industrial Estate, Middlesbrough
    • 10am – 4pm Startforth Road

NFCC Protection and Enforcement Lead, Mark Hardingham commented: “I’m delighted that the National Fire Chiefs Council is again working with small and medium size businesses to help them ensure that they are able to operate in a way that is safe from the terrible effects of fire. These businesses make a massive contribution to the UK economy and local communities and we want to help them to do this in a sustainable and safe way.”

Firefighters in high rise training exercise

Firefighters will be testing their response to high rise fires on an empty block of flats before they are demolished.

Cleveland Fire Brigade have been given the opportunity to test its plans to deal with high rise blazes on Elm House Apartments in Bath Lane, Stockton on Monday September 4 and Tuesday September 5.

Although there will be no fire or smoke used in the exercises, firefighters will simulate their response to a fire in a flat with a number of people unaccounted for.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “These exercises will allow a number of our crews to put into practice their knowledge and understanding of firefighting a high rise incident.

We would like to reassure the public we have robust procedures already in place for high rise fires.

While fires of this nature are extremely rare we welcome the chance to test our responses to incidents of this kind and indeed we do this for a range of scenarios including on-board ship fires and industrial site fires.

Members of the public should not be alarmed if they see a large fire brigade presence in the Bath Lane area of Stockton on these days.”

Further exercises are planned for October 2 and October 19.

Cleveland Fire Brigade concern over water rescues

Cleveland Fire Brigade is warning people not to use rivers to cool off or swim in during the warm weather, particularly when they have been drinking.

The call comes after concerns over recent call outs to rescue people from the River Tees over the last few weeks.

In one incident two fire appliances and the water rescue boat were called to reports of a man in the Tees at 11pm.  The man who was under the influence of alcohol, had been swimming.

Drowning in the UK is among the leading causes of accidental deaths. In 2015, 321 people accidently drowned. This included 71 people aged 15- 29, with 35% (25) of these drowning victims having alcohol in their system.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Cooling off in rivers, canals, ponds, quarries and lakes can have deadly consequences. The water may look calm on the surface, but there may be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under.

“The water may also feel relatively warm on the surface, but just a few feet below can be icy cold even in the hot weather and can very quickly cause severe cramp and hypothermia. Due to these dangers, we urge you not to swim anywhere other than in purpose-built and supervised swimming pools.

We would advise the following tips for staying safe near water:

  • Alcohol and swimming don’t mix – stay out of the water if you have been drinking
  • Always watch your child while at the beach, lake or other bodies of water
  • Learn to spot and keep away from dangerous water
  • Take safety advice – heed notices which warn you of the danger
  • Children should always visit open water sites with an adult
  • Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended, unless as part of an organised club
  • Never swim near motor boats, jet skis or other power vehicles
  • Never swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds
  • Never tamper with lifesaving equipment – you might need it yourself

Drive to reduce false alarms

Cleveland Fire Brigade (CFB) will no longer respond to automatic alarms during office hours in a bid to reduce time-wasting call-outs and getting businesses to ensure their systems are working properly.

The move, in line with other fire and rescue services across the country, comes with latest figures showing the Brigade attended nearly 600 automatic alarms in 2015/16 between 8am and 5pm – and only 12 were fires.

These changes do not affect houses, flats and other residential premises and do not put the public at risk. Most recent figures show that Cleveland Fire Brigade is one of the top performing Brigades in the country with the fastest response to building fires.

From Monday, 2 October, appliances will only be sent when there is evidence of a real fire rather than business alarms being accidentally activated through cigarette smoke, cooking fumes, dust or other minor causes.

This applies to commercial premises, schools, public buildings and leisure complexes. During the day when these premises are staffed confirmation of a fire must be received through a 999 call.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “This approach puts the onus back on businesses to get their alarms properly maintained and help them reduce their own costs.

“Everytime they have to evacuate the building because the alarm has gone off can be hugely wasteful in terms of lost production and staff time. Sometimes this can all be down to something as simple as someone burning their toast or smoking too close to the alarm system.

“In these situations there is absolutely no reason for the fire service to be called out. Our new policy will mean crews are not detracted from real emergencies where lives could be at risk.

“We provide help, support and advice to businesses and other premises through fire safety audits where their systems and procedures can be thoroughly checked. These are carried out regularly but are also available on request.”

Cleveland Fire Brigade will still attend automatic fire alarms outside office hours, weekends and Bank Holidays when fewer people are at work and there is a higher risk of alarm activation signalling a real fire.

  • Between 0800 and 1700 Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays)  CFB will not attend automatic fire alarms to low and medium risk premises unless a confirmation of fire is received via 999
  • These include businesses, schools, public buildings and leisure complexes and residential care homes
  • CFB will attend high risk properties between 0800 and 1700. These include chemical sites and places with a “sleeping risk” such as – hospitals.
  • Special risk properties – heritage sites such as Ormesby Hall, Preston Park Hall and Wynyard Hall are exempt from the new policy.