As the festive holiday approaches I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on another busy year for your fire and rescue service and to record my thanks to the community we serve for all your support. It’s been yet another extraordinary year for all of us and if you celebrate Christmas, then this year may once again be different from more traditional times. Unfortunately it does not look like Covid is going away anytime soon, but despite this and many other challenges you can be proud of your fire and rescue service and what it has achieved this year.
In the past few months, the fire service and the community have faced some of the biggest challenges of the entire year as a result of both fires and weather. HWFRS has tackled two very large fires in the North of Worcestershire, the latest being at Hoo Farm Industrial Estate, attended by scores of firefighters, other blue-light colleagues, and many other partner agencies.
I and my crews have been greatly heartened by the practical and moral support we’ve received from both the public and the counties’ other agencies, for which I would like to give a heartfelt thank you. This also acts as a timely reminder to business owners throughout the two counties of the importance of keeping checks and maintenance routines up to date by carrying out regular equipment and safety checks at premises, as this will greatly reduce the likelihood of any problems arising in the first instance.
To add to recent challenges, Storms Arwen and Barra have seen us deployed around the two counties supporting people in difficulties as a result of storm damage, high wind and rain, rising river levels, falling trees and flooding on country roads. The recent extreme weather is also a sharp reminder to take extra care on the roads, which can be particularly treacherous at this time of year, so don’t forget to check weather updates before you set off and ensure that your vehicle is winter ready, and most importantly drive safely and responsibly.
This winter has so far been relatively dry but we all know we live in two counties that are prone to flooding and therefore, whilst your fire and rescue service is ready to respond if these conditions change, it is incumbent on all of us to be prepared and ready should flooding occur.
Christmas is statistically a time when an accidental fire in the home is more likely to occur, so I would like to encourage everyone to be extra cautious and follow simple fire safety advice, such as not overloading plug sockets and turning off Christmas tree lights at night. Above all else it is vital that you check that your smoke alarms are working properly, and ensure that everyone in the house knows how to escape in the event of an emergency. Be sure to have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of the home and consider fitting carbon monoxide detectors.
As always, our staff will be maintaining their 24-hour watch throughout the festive period to help ensure the two counties are kept safe, and will respond promptly should an incident occur, alongside our teams of Prevention and Protection specialists who are also available to offer any support if needed.
On behalf of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to wish you all a very safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Further advice on fire safety can be found on our website at www.hwfire.org.uk