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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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Magistrates uphold council decision not to renew dog-breeding licence

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ON MONDAY 18 November 2019, Rhydian Jones of Waun Lluest, Gorrig, Llandysul appeared before Aberystwyth Magistrates at an appeal hearing objecting to the decision not to renew his Dog Breeding Licence.

Ceredigion County Council took the decision under the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs) (Wales) Regulations 2014, because of breaches in licence conditions identified during unannounced inspections of the premises. The breaches included the lack of supervision, enrichment and socialisation given to the dogs. Breaches also included the unsatisfactory cleaning of premises and the absence of dog breeding records. There was also a failure to make improvements requested of Mr Jones previously.

Health and Welfare Reports provided during the hearing detailed health problems with the dogs which included lice and mange.

Mr Jones disputed the findings and decision of the council throughout the appeal hearing. His defence referred to the considerable amount of improvements that had been completed.

The court concluded that the council had provided full and clear grounds for not renewing the Dog Breeding Licence, stating that the council was both reasonable and proportionate in their actions. The court accepted that the establishment was unsatisfactory in many respects whilst acknowledging that significant improvements had been made. It took into consideration the history of non-compliance at Waun Lluest, the testimony given by the appellant and the lack of confidence in him as a licensee. The court concluded that the recent improvements made by Mr Jones were unlikely to be sustained and found in favour of the council. The appeal was dismissed. Mr Jones was ordered to pay £500 costs.

Alun Williams is the council’s Corporate Lead Officer responsible for Policy and Performance. He said, “We are delighted that Magistrates found in our favour. A decision not to renew a licence is not taken lightly and officers and council solicitors had to build a robust case to present to the court. We will continue to make unannounced inspection visits to all licensed dog breeders in the county, the great majority of which operate well within regulations and the conditions of their licence. We will also pursue those individuals who breed dogs without a licence. Anyone with information on such activities should contact the council on 01545 570 881.”

Mr Jones previously held a licence to breed 26 adult dogs. His establishment had recently featured in a BBC Wales investigative documentary, although the council had decided not to renew the licence many months before broadcast.

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Community

A Battered Suitcase in the Attic: Explore Your Own Archive

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CEREDIGION’S Explore Your Own Archives’ campaign, ‘A Battered Suitcase in the Attic’, will be held from 25 to 30 November 2019. The intention is to get people to value their own personal archives. The title reflects the half-forgotten treasures that many people have hidden in the attic or under the bed in their homes.

Explore Your Archive is a national campaign delivered by the Archives and Records Association which aims to showcase the best of archives and archive services to a wide range of existing and potential users.

The local campaign wants to make people in the county consider and start to really value the documents that they’ve stashed away, and look after them.

During the week, various events and activities will take place at Aberystwyth Bandstand. The Bandstand will be open from 10am until 5pm Monday until Friday. Events and activities during the week are free for all, and some can be seen below.

· Displays of beautiful and interesting things from the Ceredigion Archives collections.

· A display of some special collections curated by Aberystwyth University Postgraduates studying Archive Administration.

· A chance to get your own free archive box for your family’s document treasures.

· A ‘Victorian’ photo-booth – dress up in the clothes (kindly loaned by Ceredigion Museum) and strike a suitable pose in front of our specially painted backdrop.

· Badge-making for all ages.

· Comfy corner: relax and watch a slide show of images from our collections, share your recollections with us.

· Browse a selection of Ceredigion Archives books, greetings cards and preservation items for sale at modest prices.

· Refreshments.

There are also lectures, workshops for adults and children and an evening with local ballad singer Owen Shiers. All events are free but so you’ll need to book for the workshops and Owen Shiers’ performance on Thursday night as numbers are limited.

Visit http://bit.ly/ArchifdyCeredigionArchives to book your place on workshops or Owen Shiers’ performance, or you can call Ceredigion Archives on 01970 633697 between 10-5 on Monday until Friday. Also, on the website you can see a full list of day to day activities and events taking place during the week.

If you need further information, call Ceredigion Archives on 01970 633697.

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Three New Quay RNLI crew members pass out as lifeboat mechanics

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THREE volunteer crew members have recently qualified as volunteer all-weather lifeboat mechanics at New Quay Lifeboat Station.

After a long training programme, which included courses at the RNLI College in Poole and extensive training on station, Pete Yates and Huw Williams were put through their paces by Peter McColl, RNLI Senior Assessor Trainer, Plant and Machinery, in their final pass out assessment 31 October.

After demanding assessments, where they had to deal with a variety of emergency situations at sea, Pete and Huw demonstrated the required level of competence to become lifeboat mechanics.

Pete said: ‘It was a very intense assessment, having to constantly think on your feet and remember your training.’

On 20 November, RNLI Assessor Trainer Simon Bunting visited the station and made it a hat trick of mechanic pass outs as crew member Dylan Price successfully completed a series of assessments, both onshore and afloat.

Huw added: ‘Pete, Dylan and I would like to thank the crew who gave up their time to launch the boat for our assessments and also thank our mechanics who have helped so much with training. We couldn’t have done it without their support.’

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said: ‘As part of our ongoing succession planning, Pete, Huw and Dylan have trained hard over the past year and I’d like to thank them for their time and effort. It is essential that we have a mechanic available at all times and this gives us much more flexibility to cover weekends and holidays for our full time station mechanic.’

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