I would 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 has been yet another extraordinary year for all of us and, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable end to the year.
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service has worked hard this year to build a better, stronger and more resilient Fire and Rescue Service for our communities, which has been especially tested this summer with the warmer and drier conditions over a prolonged period.
I know you can be proud of your fire and rescue service and what it has achieved this year.
As always, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service staff have been greatly heartened by the practical and moral support we have received from both the public and the counties’ other agencies this year, for which I would like to give a heartfelt thank you.
The end of the year 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 the challenges we face each year, such as dry and hot weather and the more recent prolonged and frozen sub-zero spell, we perhaps need to appreciate that extreme weather of all types is a sharp reminder to take extra care on the roads, which can be particularly treacherous at this time of year.
Do not forget to check weather updates before you set off, ensure that your vehicle is winter ready and most importantly drive safely and responsibly.
This winter has already seen icy and treacherous conditions, but we all know that we live in two counties that are also prone to flooding.
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 these events occur.
Christmas is statistically a time when an accidental fire in the home is more likely, 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.
Thank you and all the best.
Jon Pryce, Chief Fire Officer