Danger of summertime fires

Contributed by editor on Jul 29, 2004 - 05:03 PM


With summer finally here, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is warning the public of the dangers of fire and the damage it can cause to the countryside.

Holiday activities such as camping, caravanning and barbecues can all pose danger to people’s lives, as well as diverting valuable fire service resources away from other incidents such as house fires.

Last year Kent firefighters dealt with nearly 3,000 calls to fires in grass, crops, roadside verges and woodland. Approximately 70 percent of these were deliberate, either caused by children setting fires or irresponsible actions such as the careless discarding of cigarettes.

Head of Community Fire Safety Steve Demetriou said: “Everybody loves the summer and the activities that come with it, such as camping and barbecuing, but it also brings with it very dry conditions – perfect for a serious fire.�

“At this time of year grass and heathland fires can place a huge drain o­n the service we provide, as well as having the potential to destroy acres of the countryside we so enjoy. As a result, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is appealing to people to take care and act responsibly when taking part in summertime activities. Another major problem for us is children deliberately setting fires so, if you are a parent, we would urge you to warn them of the dangers of fire, as well as keeping matches and lighters out of their reach and reminding children that they are not toys.â€?

Here a few safety tips to consider during the summer:

<FONT color=red>Caravanning and camping:

<FONT color=navy>1) Make sure your caravan is fitted with a working smoking alarm, a caravan can be potentially more hazardous in a fire than a house because it is smaller.
2) Find out what the fire-fighting arrangements o­n the camp site are
3) Investigate the location of the nearest phone.
4) Make sure there is a water or dry powder extinguisher located inside the caravan near the door.
5) Keep a torch handy, never use candles.
6) Take extreme care when dealing with gas cylinders – they are highly explosive
7) Make sure escape doors and windows are unblocked

<FONT color=red>Although Kent Fire and Rescue Service discourages outdoor fires, if you do have o­ne ensure that you:

<FONT color=darkblue>1) Build it downwind at least 10 metres from trees, buildings, tents and caravans
2) Clear the area of grass, leaves and brush to form a circle of earth around the fire
3) Never leave it unattended
4) Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive a fire
5) Never throw batteries, aerosols or other gas cylinders o­n to the fire
6) Make sure the fire is out and there are no smouldering or hot ashes left before leaving
7) Never build a fire in a forest or wood

<FONT color=red>When having a barbecue make sure you:

<FONT color=darkblue>1) Ensure the barbecue is in good repair and working order
2) Choose a flat site for it, away from sheds and fences and overhanging branches
3) Never use petrol – o­nly ever use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and o­nly use the minimum quantity necessary to start the fire
4) Never leave barbecues unattended
5) Keep children, pets and garden games well away from the cooking area
6) Empty ashes o­nto bare garden soil, never into a dustbin or wheelie bin
7) Remember, excessive alcohol and fire never mix
8) When the cooking is finished, ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it

More information o­n the above subjects can be obtained from Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Fire Safety team o­n 01622 698360.

84 year old yachtsman stranded on sandbank

Contributed by editor on Jul 28, 2004 - 10:08 PM

<FONT color=black size=4>

<FONT color=black>An 84-year-old yachtsman became stranded when his craft drifted o­n to a sandbank.

The solo sailor was using the toilet when his autopilot disengaged and sent the boat, called Sundance, towards the Goodwin Sands, Dover coastguards have said.

He had to wait eight hours for the high tide to lift the boat free with the help of a lifeboat crew.

Apology over care home killing

Contributed by editor on Jul 28, 2004 - 10:04 PM


The family of a mental health patient stabbed to death by a fellow resident in a Kent care home has received a public apology from health officials

<FONT color=black>Joseph Day, 22, was attacked by 19-year-old Joe Janes, a schizophrenic with a history of violence at the Willow Lodge care home in Folkestone.

An inquiry into Mr Day's death said the risks posed by Janes's mental health had been "poorly recognised".

<FONT color=black>Mr Day's mother, Penny, claimed her son would still be alive if health workers had done their jobs properly.

<FONT color=black>Mr Day was stabbed o­n 15 July 2001.

Statement from Shepway Liberal Democrat Council Group

Contributed by editor on Jul 28, 2004 - 09:49 PM


<P class=datefollowsh>At last nights group meeting of the Shepway Liberal Democrats (26 July), Cllr Linda Cufley resigned as the leader of the group.

Members of the group have the greatest respect for Linda, and for all the work she has done over the last 21 years for both this district and her colleagues.

As Linda explained to the group last night, the reason for her resignation was to enable the group to move forward as a whole.

<P class=news>The group will now meet o­n Friday 30th July, to appoint a new leader.

Youth Drama Club to start again - Lyminge Dramatic Society

Contributed by editor on Jul 27, 2004 - 08:58 PM

<FONT color=black> 


<FONT color=black>The Lyminge Dramatic Society  will be putting o­n their next play, The Ghost Train, by Arnold Ridley, at Lyminge Village Hall from 24th to 27th November.

<FONT color=black>This is a comedy thriller which will have you o­n the edge of your seats!

More news in later newsletters.

<FONT color=black>Lyminge Dramatic Society

Cufley resigns

Contributed by editor on Jul 27, 2004 - 04:45 PM

<FONT color=black size=4>CUFLEY RESIGNS

<FONT color=black>Cllr Linda Cufley has resigned as Leader of Shepway District council nearly two weeks after members unsuccessfully tried to remove her as leader of the ruling Liberal Democrat Group.

<FONT color=black>Things came to a head when Local Government Minister Nick Raynford capped the council after they raised council tax by almost 30%.

<FONT color=black>Cllr Cufley will leave o­n August 5th and a Special Extraordinary Meeting of the Council will be held.

<FONT color=black>Brian McAndrew, the council's chief executive,  issued a statement reading: "I have today received the resignation of the leader of Shepway District Council, Cllr Linda Cufley, effective from 1200 BST o­n 5 August.

"There will be a meeting of the cabinet o­n Wednesday 28 July at 0930 BST, at which time I will be informed about the future of the current portfolio holders.

"I am now making the necessary arrangements for the council to elect a new leader and for him/her to choose a new cabinet.

"In the meantime I will be making special arrangements to try to ensure the continuity of normal council business until these complex political issues are resolved."

This is a blow for the local Liberal Democrat party who had hoped to oust local MP and Tory party Leader Michael Howard in the next General Election.

Eurotunnel deeper in debt

Contributed by admin on Jul 26, 2004 - 12:28 PM


Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel has admitted its financial position is "worrying" after its half-year losses ballooned to £82m.

<FONT color=black>Last year the deficit was o­nly £17m and Eurotunnel said its survival hinged o­n talks with its financial and industrial partners.

<FONT color=black>Competition has increased for cross-Channel passengers and Eurotunnel saw the number of cars and coaches using its shuttle service fall by 14% over the past year.

<FONT color=black>Eurotunnel has debts of 6.4bn euros and is struggling to compete on price with the English Channel ferry operators.

Blow for wind farm supporters

Contributed by admin on Jul 26, 2004 - 12:23 PM


Professor David Bellamy voiced his opposition to plans to build a wind farm o­n Romney Marsh.
<FONT color=black>
David Bellamy and Tory leader Michael Howard are united in opposing the scheme.
<FONT color=black>
The scheme was rejected by the dual planning authorities of Kent County Council and Shepway council with other councils also opposing the plans.

<FONT color=black>Npower still wants to site the turbines o­n the marshland but local protestors say wildlife would be threatened by the scheme


Contributed by admin on Jul 26, 2004 - 12:19 PM

<FONT color=black>FANTASTIC!

That was how Cllr Peter Smith described the Hawkinge Fun Day on Saturday.

Co- organiser of the event Peter said: " This was success all round, everyone I have spoken to has given me positive feedback. 

"This was the first time the Green by the Community Centre had been used for a village event and I am looking forward doing more, it is a great venue.

"With the Strawberry Teas and the Boot Fair at the Cricket Club, people moved between the different sites and made it a great day. 

"The courtesy bus service was well used and made it easy for villagers to travel to the other events.

"I have already started work planning the next event" said Peter.

Council's improvement recognised

Contributed by editor on Jul 25, 2004 - 06:46 PM


"Dover is a fair council that has improved substantially in the last three years and is well placed to continue to improve."

This is the official finding of the Audit Commission, an independent Government body, following a week long inspection as part of the Comprehensive Performance Review, which rates all Councils as Excellent, Good, Fair, Weak or Poor.

In their findings they say that: "Until a few years ago, Dover spent beyond its means, was poorly organised and managed, and was providing some key services at severe risk of being considered as 'failing'" … "The positive changes made since then are a great credit to the Council and its staff" … "The Council is effectively led, both politically and managerially."

Leader of Dover District Council, Cllr Paul Watkins said: "We welcome external challenge and will continue to improve services for the people of the District. We are particularly pleased that the Commission acknowledges our low taxing position, which makes our achievement all the more impressive. The Staff and all Councillors have worked hard to turn this Authority around and whilst there is still a lot of work to be done, we are ready for the challenge."