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75% of children at risk of electrical fire

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ELECTRICAL SAFETY FIRST have carried out new research which studied the risks children face from the devices in their bedrooms.

Of all children surveyed, more than a quarter (27%) said they have used or purchased a cheap unbranded charger, nearly two in five (38%) admitted to leaving their phones charging overnight underneath their pillow, and over half (54%) said they had left a laptop, tablet or phone charging on their bed.

The research has shown that charging devices on a bed is a common occurrence. However, this significantly increases the risk of a fire. The heat generated by a phone on charge has nowhere to dissipate when the phone is under a pillow or surrounded by bedding, which generates even more heat. Combined with flammable materials, this heat can endanger property and lives by catching fire. If it’s not charged on a table or similar environment, even a device manufactured to the correct safety standards can swiftly become dangerous.

Also a worry is the fact that over a quarter of all children in the study have bought or used a cheap unbranded charger. Perhaps the most potentially dangerous counterfeit items tested by Electrical Safety First are substandard or counterfeit chargers. These usually contain malfunctioning parts that can deliver a fatal electric shock or catch fire by overheating.

Electrical Safety First found that, on average, children’s bedrooms contain ten electrical items, ranging from phone chargers and hair straighteners to tablets and fairy lights.

This amounts to nearly 25% more electrical devices than the number their parents’ generation had when growing up.

Today’s children, compared to their parents’ generation, are exposed to many more electrical safety risks. More than five out of six children (84%) have downloaded or are planning to download the popular ‘Pokemon Go’, a battery-draining game that will increase the need for phone chargers over the summer.

The findings have shown that, shockingly, parents are more likely than their children to take risks. Compared to 79% of children, 84% of parents admitted to taking risks. Two in five parents (41%), for example, have bought or used a cheap unbranded charger.

Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First, Emma Apter, said: “The research shows that, unwittingly, many parents and children are taking big risks with their safety. Technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the last 20 years and children’s bedrooms now contain more sophisticated technology than ever before. Many parents are unaware of the electrical dangers in their children’s bedrooms and how one person’s bad habits could put the whole family at risk. We’d like parents to understand the risks and lead by example.”

Dwayne Blanchard, a Leicester father of three, experienced firsthand the dangers of unsafe charging after a near miss with a potentially devastating fire last November. Thankfully, Dwayne had been home later than planned that morning and the smell of burning, emanating from his son’s bedroom, woke him up. He ran into the room and found the sheets in flames, caused by a phone and Bluetooth speaker on charge under his son’s pillow.

“I saw the fire on his pillow, where his phone and Bluetooth speaker were sat. I was able to put it out straight away but if I hadn’t been there, it could have burned the house down. I feel like we had a real lucky escape. We’re in a semi so it could have been devastating for us and our next-door neighbour.”

The fire has led to Dwayne and his partner, Rachel, introducing new rules in the house: all electronics are charged downstairs, and nothing is left plugged in overnight or when everyone goes out.

“Brandon did have a proper charger for his phone, but the Bluetooth speaker was plugged into a different charger than the one it came with, just because it was the right size. I won’t be letting him use a different charger or charge anything under his pillow again.”

For advice about how to keep you and your family safe in the home, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/ modernfamily.

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Community

Ceredigion lifesavers go the extra mile during lockdown

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Loyal blood donors in Ceredigion have responded to a request from the Welsh
Blood Service to ‘donate differently’ by rolling up their sleeves to make a
lifesaving donation at one of the Service’s new regional hubs.

Across Wales, of the 6,808 individuals that visited a Welsh Blood Service donation
session in May 63% of donors attended a clinic that was not their usual donation
venue.

In Ceredigion, 293 donors came forward to give blood in May, with 34 attending a
donation session for the very first time.

Following a series of Covid-19 related venue cancellations and social distancing
restrictions, the Welsh Blood Service was unable to host donation sessions at the thirty
community venues it would typically visit across Wales each week.

The Service introduced a new collections schedule at the beginning of April which saw
collections taken from five regional donation hubs at different locations in Wales each
week. Donors were asked to travel to donate at their nearest hub.

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When it became clear we
couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate
differently. Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections
programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.

“98.3% of the appointments we’ve made available since lockdown have been taken
and many of these appointments have been taken by donors who have been prepared
to go even further out of their way than they usually would just to make a potentially
lifesaving donation.”

The Service has also observed a sharp rise in the number of new donors coming
forward to donate.

Mr Prosser continued: “In May 2019, around 11% of those that attended our donation
sessions were new donors. This May, around 19% of our attendance has been people
who had never given before.

“We’ve also see a surge in the number of donors who haven’t given in years returning
to our sessions to help us boost stocks. It’s been amazing and we’re hugely grateful.”

Blood stocks in Wales have remained healthy throughout the pandemic as the reduced
collections activity has mirrored a reduction in the volume of blood used by hospitals.
However, the Service is urging donors to continue to attend their local sessions as and
when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing
donors but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet
hospital demand in the coming months. Travel to donate is considered essential travel
and anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate can book an appointment through the
welshblood.org.uk website.”

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Porth Cymorth Cynnar supporting residents in Ceredigion

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During this challenging period, Porth Cymorth Cynnar has established a virtual platform to ensure that we are able to keep in touch with vulnerable residents across Ceredigion.

Due to the restrictions introduced to safeguard our communities against COVID-19, many residents are not able to access their usual provision or support such as parent groups or GP Referral Exercise Classes. Instead, we are ensuring that all residents whom are known to our services, and others, are kept in touch with, through regular welfare calls, should they wish.

Around 2000 residents from young people to families to carers, who may require or benefit from regular contact whilst their service is not operating in its usual form, will receive communication from our staff.

To date, almost 2000 welfare calls have been made, and have been well received by people across Ceredigion. Residents have said that it is great that someone is keeping in touch with them, to give them an opportunity to have a weekly phone call and someone to talk to.

Mrs Jones* (name changed for anonymity) who is 92 and lives alone, is used to receiving regular visits from Ceredigion’s mobile library was identified as benefiting from a weekly phone call, to check how she was doing, now that her usual library service would not be visiting for a while. Porth Cymorth Cynnar aimed to get in touch with Mrs Jones, but did not have a contact number. After tracking down a contact number through the local directory, a member of the Porth y Gymuned team was able to make contact. Luckily Mrs Jones has the support of family and neighbours to collect groceries, but nonetheless was extremely grateful to have someone to talk to, and to check that she is OK. A weekly phone check in has been organised with Mrs Jones, to ensure that she is doing well and to organise if she is in need of anything.

If you, or anyone you know would benefit from the Keeping in Touch Service, please get in touch with our Customer Services team on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk who will triage your query to Porth Cymorth Cynnar.

Porth Cymorth Cynnar are also regularly updating resource lists which are available on the Ceredigion County Council website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Community

The latest on plastic free Ceredigion

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At its meeting held on 17 March, the Council’s Cabinet received an activity update from the Plastic Free Ceredigion Task and Finish Group, which was set up after full Council approved a motion on 22 February 2018.

Full Council approved the ‘Plastic Free campaigns throughout the County, including Plastic Free Aberporth and Plastic Free Aberystwyth’ motion to ensure that the Council helps to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in our day to day operations.

The motion involved a number of factors including; reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and encouraging local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives. Promoting the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events, supporting beach cleans and any other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics.

Since 22 February 2018, the Council have removed 5 single-use plastic that were used across the local authority, implemented projects in conjunction with NRW with local primary schools, worked closely with communities throughout Ceredigion and commenced the provision of Water bottle re-fills on request to all visitors to our public facing buildings.

In January 2020, the Schools Service were successful in bidding for funding from the Circular Economy Capital Fund, which allows for the purchasing of milk dispensers which will remove the need for the provision of plastic milk bottles and straws by 1,979 pupils at Foundation and Key Stage 2. This is equivalent to a reduction of 376,010 plastic milk bottles per school year.

Councillor Alun Williams, Member Champion for Sustainability said, “These are initiatives which, together, make a real difference to the amount of single-use plastics going into the waste stream from Council activities. Whilst it’s important that everyone seeks to minimise their use of single-use plastics, it’s particularly important that large organisations like councils take these kinds of actions because they can have a wider effect which, in turn, can lead to industry changing to more sustainable practices. Ceredigion Council is trying to lead the way in showing what’s possible within an organisation.”

This supports one of the Council’s corporate priority of Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

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