Stirling’s emergency services came together with other agencies to host a safety day in Stirling city centre.
Representatives from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, British Transport Police, Trading Standards and the Telecare Mobile Emergency Care Service set up information stands at the bottom of King Street, offering safety information to members of the public.
The Fire Service offered advice on fire safety in the home, offering information on fire prevention, safe cooking, and smoke detectors.
The fire service arranged two chip pan fire demonstrations – to show how dangerous a kitchen fire can be. This was shown when a small fire massively grew in size after a firefighter added only two teaspoonfuls of water.
The event organiser, Alan Faulds, a veteran of 26 years in the fire service, and the only firefighter in Scotland to be awarded a British Citizen Award for his role in a road safety initiative spoke to crowds about the dangers of kitchen fires, and how the safest thing to do in the event of a fire is to leave the house, and call the fire service, and not to throw water on a fire. As a fire reacted to the water being added, increasing in size, Faulds said; “That is not a survivable fire.”
Speaking with Brig after the demonstration, Faulds spoke of his experience with kitchen fires;
“I’ve been in the fire service for 26 years, and I have seen people die from kitchen fires, the first fire that I responded to in 1992 was a chip pan fire, and I have seen people die from trying to put these fires out.”
Faulds then offered some advice to students about fire safety; “Before you go out, make sure everything is switched off, use common sense, check things around your home, because you will know if there is something wrong.”
“Don’t charge your phone overnight,” he added, “It doesn’t take long for a phone to charge, and if you keep a phone on charge after it has reached 100%, then the charger can overload the battery and the phone can explode.”
The fire service also issued sticks with fingers on the end for members of the public to easily test their smoke alarms at home, Alan Faulds developed the sticks with funding from Solicitors for older people Scotland.
The British Transport Police offered information about travelling safely on the railways, and the various dangers of the railways that commuters can face.
The officers offered their advice to students; “Don’t drink too much, don’t travel alone, and look after your possessions.”
One officer spoke of the importance about drink spiking; “Make sure that you look out for each other, and watch your drink, drink spiking is not uncommon.” Stressing the importance of safety in numbers.
The officers also spoke about the various methods of ensuring that your drink can’t be spiked and spoke of the initiatives in place to ensure that students get home safely after nights out.
The Scottish Ambulance Service Forth Valley First Responders brought CPR mannequins, to increase public awareness of CPR and the various pieces of medical equipment that they carry in their vehicles.
The first responders spoke about who they were and what their organisation does.
“We are trained by the Ambulance Service and are dispatched by ambulance control, our job is to fill the gap in between a person calling 999, and an ambulance arriving on scene. We respond to the same ‘Category A’ calls as ambulances do, we could be in the city centre and receive a call, and we can get to the scene quickly while an ambulance could be coming from the Stirling Ambulance Station” one responder said.
They highlighted some equipment that is stored in response vehicles, including oxygen and a defibrillator.
“We have two cars operational.” another responder added, “both of which were donated by Arnold Clark.”
The responders stressed the importance of CPR. “The highest thing on our agenda is for people to learn CPR.”
“CPR is the difference,” one responder added, “especially in the first 8 minutes.”
A paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service spoke about the impact on an injured person if CPR is not performed; “For every minute that there is no CPR there is a significant decrease, if an unconscious person does not receive CPR within the first 3 minutes then the brain can start to die off.”
The responders stated the importance of members of the public familiarising themselves with defibrillator equipment.
“Most places, shops, businesses, and the university have clearly signposted public-use defibrillators, which are really easy to use as they guide the user through the process.”
“I know that using a defibrillator may seem daunting, but it is really simple and can make a difference, it could save someone’s life.”
A representative from Trading Standards was there to raise awareness about safe and unsafe products, and to inform people about the dangers of counterfeit products.
Trading Standards offered advice such as always buy from reputable suppliers, as the cheaper alternatives may have faults and problems.
The Telecare/Mobile Emergency Care Service (MECS) was there to showcase the equipment and products that they use to keep people safe in their homes, including alarms to alert people when they have had a fall.
“Most of the people we look after are elderly people who live on their own, and people with learning disabilities.” one representative said.
“We encourage people to be vigilant, check up on your elderly neighbours, help them out by asking if you can get anything for them while out shopping, if it is snowing ask if you can clear their path for them.”
“Also be observant, if you stay next door to an elderly person and you haven’t seen them for a couple if days, go and knock on their door to make sure that they are alright, because there could be something wrong and they could be hurt. That is our advice for anybody.”
Members of the emergency services expressed their willingness to work with the student’s union to encourage fire safety, general safety, and first aid awareness amongst Stirling students.