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Fire service pay tribute to London high rise victims

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Tragic: The fire in London this morning (Jun 14)

MID AND WEST WALES FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE have paid tributes to the victims of the tragic fire in London today (Jun 14).

Chris Davies, Chief Fire Office of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: ”As the terrible events in London are still unfolding and the circumstances of today’s incident remain unclear, our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, been affected by this incident or are responding from London Fire Brigade or as part of the wider multi agency response. This incident has been traumatic and challenging for all those concerned.

“At this stage, we do not yet know what caused the fire, where it started or how it has spread in such a way. As such, it’s important that we do not try and speculate on these key questions and allow those who are conducting the investigation to come to their conclusions. However, there is some important advice that we can share with those that live in high rise properties across mid and west Wales.”

The fire service advice is as follows:

  • If you live in a high rise property, you are no more at risk of a fire starting. Our advice is that people who live in high rise properties / purpose built flats or maisonettes, aside from having a working smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know your escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home of somewhere else in the building.
  • Never prop or wedge doors open. The exterior doors of your home are specially designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke. However, to do this, they must be kept closed when they are not in use. It is also a good idea to close your internal doors when you retire for the night.
  • Make sure that your escapes routes, inside and outside of your flat, are kept clear of obstacles at all times.
  • Know where your keys are – vital time needed to escape may be lost if you have to scramble around looking for them.

If the smoke alarm sounds:

  • Don’t open doors looking for the source of the fire.
  • Alert everyone else and leave the flat, closing the door behind you.
  • Don’t stop to gather personal belongings or pets.
  • Don’t use a balcony to escape unless it’s part of an official escape route.
  • When you are out of the building, find a phone and call 999 – and remember to keep calm and speak clearly.
  • Never go back into the building until you have been told it is safe to do so.

If a fire breaks out elsewhere in the building:

  • It will normally be safe for you to stay in your own flat. Open a window if you need fresh air, and stay by the window where you may been seen. If your own flat becomes affected by smoke, leave at once, closing windows and doors behind you.
  • If you have to leave the building, always use the staircase and never use the lift.
  • If you have to move through smoke, keep as close to the floor as you can, where the air is fresher.
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Community

RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Community

Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Success for Dyfed-Powys Police in targeting drugs suppliers in Ceredigion

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A drugs supplier in the Ceredigion area has been sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison.

Kylie Mason, 34, from Aberaeron, was arrested on the 28th October 2019, and later charged with 2 offences of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and two offences of supply a controlled drug of Class A. She pleaded guilty at court and received a total sentence of two years and two months in prison on the 8th January.

Detective Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This is an excellent result for the Aberaeron community, who had raised concerns about this individual supplying drugs in the area. I hope this will serve as a warning to others who wish to bring drugs into the Ceredigion area that it will not be tolerated. This result will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe. If anyone is worried about drugs in their community I would urge them to contact police as we will take the appropriate action.”

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