OPINION: Celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee safely - Harrogate firefighter Kirsty Shepherd

Fire crews in the Harrogate District have kept busy attending a range of different incidents in the past month.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 3:16 pm
Representing Pateley Bridge at Buckingham Palace  next  year - Kirsty Shepherd.
Representing Pateley Bridge at Buckingham Palace next year - Kirsty Shepherd.

Crews have been called out to house fires, road traffic collisions, vehicle fires and even flooding. One thing I have learnt in this job is you can never predict what incident you may be called out to next.

The other night, a crew responded to reports of a female whose finger had become stuck in a wall mounted flush button at a bar in Harrogate. The female had tried to press the flush button using her finger knuckle as her long fake nails prevented her from pressing the button the normal way!

The same night, the crew went to a road traffic collision on the A1 where there were reports of multiple vehicles involved. Fortunately, everyone was out of the vehicles on arrival and crews made the scene safe. On a different day, crews responded to reports of a crane on fire. The quick thinking driver used an extinguisher prior to our arrival putting out the fire. We used water to cool the overheated wheel bearings and prevent any reignition.

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When we are not busy training or responding to fire calls, we go out into the community and give out free prevention advice to help you stay safe at home.

It was recently ‘Dementia Action Week’ which aims to encourage people to ‘act on dementia’.

Dementia doesn’t care how old you are with more than 40,000 people with dementia in the UK being under the age of 65. However, for people aged 80 and above, the majority of linked dwelling fires are caused by the misuse of equipment or appliances.

To help keep loved ones with dementia safe, the fire service can come to their homes and give free advice on fire safety. We can also provide advice about general health and wellbeing, avoiding falls in the home and keeping your home warm.

You can book a free visit by going to www.northyorksfire.gov.uk (go to ‘Your Safety’ then ‘Book a Safe and Well Visit’) or by calling our Fire Safety Advice Line on 01609 788545. Or why not go along to Skipton Fire Station, who hold regular Dementia Coffee Mornings on Thursdays. Their next one takes place 10am–noon on Thursday, June 16.

There are also many wonderful local support groups in the Harrogate District where you can ask for help such as Dementia Forward, a local charity who support people living with dementia and their families in North Yorkshire. You can call the Dementia Forward helpline on 03300 578592 to ask questions and get help accessing a range of support and services.

I am sure many of us are looking forward to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee four day Bank Holiday weekend from Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5. There are many amazing local events planned at our open green spaces in the Harrogate District - see the Guide section of the paper or the Neighbourhood News section.

Let’s hope for good weather and more importantly, let’s celebrate safely! If you are going to a green space or park, we suggest bringing along a picnic rather than using disposable barbecues (most places are banning barbecues at their event).

If you are having a street party, make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste. Never leave a barbecue unattended and keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies. Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire.

Always call 999 if you see an uncontrolled fire. Even more importantly, hope you all enjoy celebrating the Platinum Jubilee Weekend!