Category Archives: News

New Year’s Resolution – Test your smoke alarms

Make a new year’s resolution: Install smoke alarms and test every week in 2018 – and beyond.

With the New Year underway, Cleveland Fire Brigade is asking people to ensure they have working smoke alarms and to test them weekly as one of their New Year’s resolutions.

Shockingly, of the 147 accidental house fires Cleveland Fire Brigade attended last year, 40% of homes didn’t have smoke alarms. Smoke, the silent killer, is responsible for over half of all deaths in accidental fires in the home. Working smoke alarms can give people the wake-up call they need to escape.

Many people see January as an opportunity for a fresh start, and safety should be top of the list. So this month Cleveland Fire Brigade is encouraging everyone to make sure they have enough smoke alarms in the home and that they work. It only takes a few seconds and can saves lives.

Smoke alarms can give someone the few extra seconds they need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.

For people who live in a larger property, a single smoke alarm is simply not enough. The recommendation is at least one at every level.  Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire.  Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.

Cleveland Fire Brigade is asking people to make sure that their alarms are up to date and up to the job.

To keep your alarms in working order:

  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home;
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every week #TestItTuesday;
  • Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old;
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near bedrooms.  Also consider in rooms which have electrical appliances – e.g. a heater or charger – or other fire risks;
  • Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to ensure they’re fully protected.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection said:

“At this time of year, many people will be thinking of what they can do – big or small – to make a fresh start and improve their lives, homes and wellbeing.  Smoke alarms can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if it might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all.

“For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. So if your alarm is getting past its best or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, make your New Year’s resolution to fit new ones, test them every week and protect your loved ones in 2018.”

Helping the community at Christmas

Volunteers donate to Redcar food bank

Young volunteers have shown the spirit of Christmas by donating to their local food bank and cleaning up Redcar beach.

The young people, aged 16 and 17, have successfully completed a programme of courses after Cleveland Fire Brigade linked-up with the National Citizen Service (NCS) and have all been awarded nationally recognised volunteering qualifications.

As part of their work they decided to hold a supermarket bag packing day to raise money to donate items to the Redcar Food Bank. In addition they also had a litter sweep of Redcar beach to make it a cleaner and safer environment for everyone.

The volunteers are all from the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council area and the programme, which included residential outdoor activities in the Lake District and a series of presentations by a variety of organisations, was organised by Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Youth Engagement Team.

David Bowmer Youth Development Coordinator, Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “It was absolutely fantastic to see the volunteers helping their local community. They realise that unfortunately some people need a little extra help to make sure they have a happier Christmas and were very keen to support the Food Bank which does outstanding work, especially at this time of year.

 “On top of this, with all the national debate surrounding the dangers of plastic and other litter on beaches, they had no hesitation to go out and remove unwanted debris from Redcar beach,

“All this work was entirely off their own initiative and something that they really wanted to do. They are all fully deserving of getting their national volunteering qualifications and are a credit to the local community.”

 The programme also included leaning team skills through firefighter training.

Across the whole of the Tees Valley almost 1,000 teenagers completed NCS programmes in recent months, organising around 60 youth-led community projects.

Help shape the future of your fire and rescue service

Cleveland Fire Authority is today (Monday 11 December) inviting people to have a say on the future of their fire and rescue service by taking part in a public consultation.

The public as well as a wide range of community groups and organisations across Teesside will be asked for their views on the planned changes within Cleveland Fire Brigade over the next four years.

A draft Community Integrated Risk Management Plan has been produced which sets out Cleveland Fire Authority’s intentions, over the next four years, of how its prevention, protection and emergency response work will respond to all foreseeable risks in Teesside.

The plan is available to view online at and in hard copy from fire stations, council offices and libraries across Teesside.

Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton said: “In shaping the future services the Fire Authority wants to build on its enviable reputation and impressive record of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our local communities. We also want to assure the public that we remain committed to having efficient and effective prevention services targeted at the most vulnerable in our communities and a highly effective response service to deal with emergencies when they do occur.

“We are rightly proud in Cleveland of the Fire Service we provide, that still makes Teesside one of the safest places to live in the United Kingdom in terms of the number of fires that we suffer in our homes, and we hope that people will give us their views on how we can continue to build on that success as we move towards 2022.”

Councillor Jan Brunton-Dobson, Chair of Cleveland Fire Authority said: “We are keen to give the public an opportunity to contribute to our decisions for improving community safety on Teesside.

“I would encourage everyone to take part in this consultation process and let us know their views. The responses we receive are vital and will help shape your fire service in future years.”

To take part, we encourage people to firstly read the plan before providing feedback in one of the following ways before 2 February 2018:

  • Through our website:
  • By writing to us with your comments, ideas or views at Cleveland Fire Brigade, CIRMP Consultation, Endeavour House, Queens Meadow Business Park, Hartlepool, TS25 5TH
  • By Emailing us at
  • By Telephoning us on 01429 874013 and leaving a message.

After the consultation closes on 2 February 2018 the Fire Authority will carefully consider all feedback received, before making any decisions on changes to the service. Final decisions will be published in a report available on the Cleveland Fire Brigade website in May 2018.

Spate of cooking fires sparks concern

A spate of recent cooking fires across Teesside is causing serious concern at Cleveland Fire Brigade which is urging householders to take extra care in the kitchen.

Firefighters have been called to five house fires in the last month – all of which involved a chip pan that had been left unattended on the cooker. A sixth fire involved clothing which had been placed on top of a hob that was left on.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We are appealing to all residents as a matter of urgency to take extra care in their kitchens.

“We have been pleading with people for years to chuck out their chip pans so it is worrying that we are still called out to this kind of fire in the home.

“We are urging people to keep an eye on their cooking especially at this time of year when people are traditionally spending more time in the kitchen and can be easily distracted by the festivities going on around them.

“And for those people who are planning nights out – our advice is to prepare a sandwich for when they come home or grab a takeaway to avoid the need to cook under the influence of alcohol. 

“Cleveland Fire Brigade is committed to doing all it can to prevent fires in the home and we urgently need people to follow our advice to help keep them and their loved ones safe from fire.”

Keep your Christmas magical – Don’t let a fire ruin it

Cleveland Fire Brigade is appealing to people to avoid the heartache of a fire this Christmas by taking extra care with cooking, candles and electrical equipment.

Last December alone there were 16 accidental house fires in Teesside. That’s 16 homes and families affected by fire during what should be a happy time. The top causes of the fires were cooking and electrical.

Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We want people to enjoy all the festivities of Christmas time but we are also urging them to take extra care at a time of year when there are increased dangers around the home.

“Overloading sockets, charging mobiles and laptops overnight,  leaving cooking unattended, keeping candles near curtains or tinsel and  drying clothes on heaters, can all spark disaster and lead to a Christmas going up in flames. This is a magical time of the year and we want to keep it that way.

“Just following a few safe and sensible safety tips can make it a happy Christmas for everyone.”

Top tips for a safe Christmas


  • Stand by your pan – NEVER leave cooking unattended
  • Don’t drink and cook – order a takeaway or eat cold food if drinking
  • Food left too long to reheat in a microwave can easily set on fire
  • Chuck out your chip pan – it could save your life
  • Keep your cooker clean – a build-up of fat can AND does cause fires


  • Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors have a limit to how many amps they can take. Keep one plug per socket
  • Make sure electricals such as hair straighteners, curling tongs and irons are unplugged before leaving the house
  • Don’t leave laptops, tablets and mobile phones charging overnight or when you go out
  • NEVER charge a mobile phone under your pillow while you sleep!
  • Only buy electricals from reputable suppliers and ensure they carry the British or European Safety Mark
  • Switch decorative lights off when you go to bed or leave the house
  • Replace any bulbs that blow
  • Don’t let the bulbs touch anything that can burn easily, like paper or fabrics and other Christmas tree decorations
  • Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything


  • Always place your candles and tealights on a suitable fire resistant candleholder
  • Keep candles, tealights, matches and lighters out of reach of children and pets
  • Position candles and tealights away from curtains, furniture and anything else that can catch fire
  • Never put tealights on plastic surfaces such as baths
  • Never leave candles and tealights unattended – if you go out or to bed, make sure they are properly out