THE MID AND WEST WALES FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE has revealed the extent of budget cuts, whilst speaking at Ceredigion’s full council meeting last Thursday (Mar 21).
At the meeting last Thursday, Fire Service Chief Officer Chris Davies told councillors that in a time of austerity, the service has had to make significant cuts.
He said: “We’ve stripped out 20% of our budget… 27% of firefighters posts removed and 34% of middle to senior management posts have been removed over the last six to eight years.
“We are at the point now where anymore cuts to us will mean a reduction in service delivery.
“It means that someone, somewhere, will receive emergency response more slowly than they currently do.”
Mr Davies added: “We’ve made significant cuts as I know you have as a council.
“We are at the point now where there are only three things that we can cut… personnel, appliances and equipment.”
The Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service serves Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Swansea, Powys and Neath Port Talbot. The Service covers some 4,500 square miles and makes-up almost two-thirds of the landmass of Wales, with nearly 12,000 square kilometres of road networks and 650 kilometres of coastline. Census data suggests that the permanent population of the service area is 900,000, but the fire service say that it can be proven that during the summer, the population exceeds two million.
Statutory duties of the service are fire safety, firefighting, road traffic collisions and emergencies. Other operational challenges include building fires, grass fires, flooding, urban search and rescue as well as terrorism response. Grass fires in particular were a major problem last year, and in the period between April and June, the Mid and West Wales fire control received over 27,000 calls regarding that issue. The co-responder scheme, which utilises specialist vehicles to assist the Welsh Ambulance Service in the case of medical emergencies, has been considered a success. Mr Davies described ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) as meaning ‘someone has been brought back to life’, and 54 such instances have been confirmed across the service area.
Mr Davies added: “That means that 54 people are walking around today who wouldn’t have been, if they [co-responder vehicles] weren’t in place.”
A wide variety of risks are found within the operational area, ranging from the petro-chemical industries in Milford Haven and Briton Ferry to the risks associated with heavily populated areas such as Swansea, Port Talbot and Llanelli. There is an extensive farming community and many other light industries throughout the area. These, together with an extensive coastline and inland waterways are some of the specialised risks within the Mid and West Wales region.
Parents warned to look out for respiratory illness in children
RESPIRATORY Syncytial Virus (RSV) is circulating amongst children and toddlers in the Hywel Dda area (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire)
Hywel Dda UHB Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Dr Philip Kloer said: “Because of the COVID restrictions, there have been few cases of RSV during the pandemic, but this virus has returned and in higher numbers now people are mixing more.
“RSV is a common respiratory illness which is usually picked up by children during the winter season, and causes very few problems to the majority of children. However, very young babies, particularly those born prematurely, and children with heart or lung conditions, can be seriously affected and it’s important that parents are aware of the actions to take.”
Parents are being encouraged to look out for symptoms of severe infection in at-risk children, including:
*a high temperature of 37.8°C or above (fever)
*a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing).
The best way to prevent RSV is to wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly, dispose of used tissues correctly, and to keep surfaces clean and sanitised.
Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks, but you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 if:
- You are worried about your child.
- Your child has taken less than half their usual amount during the last two or three feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.
- Your child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.
- Your child seems very tired or irritable.
Dial 999 for an ambulance if:
- your baby is having difficulty breathing
- your baby’s tongue or lips are blue
- there are long pauses in your baby’s breathing
New Quay RNLI rescues person cut off by the tide
NEW Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was launched on service on Saturday September 11 following a report of a person cut off by the tide at Traeth Gwyn, New Quay.
With three crew members on board the inshore lifeboat Audrey LJ it launched on service at 11.15am and did an extensive search of the beach before finding the casualty who had been cut off by the high spring tide.
Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “There was an initial confusion on the location of the casualty but an update from the New Quay Coastguard Rescue team, who had fought their way down from the cliff top through thick undergrowth, allowed us to locate the person.
“We then transferred the casualty and two of the coastguard team onto the boat. We dropped the casualty off at Llanina Point and brought the two coastguard officers back to the lifeboat station. The inshore lifeboat was then rehoused and ready for service by 12.25pm.
“Remember if you see if you see anyone in difficulty or you find yourself in trouble on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Ben Lake shows support for farmers on Back British Farming Day
BEN Lake MP has today shown support for British food and farming on Back British Farming Day, recognising the crucial role farmers in Ceredigion play in producing food for the nation.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) provided MPs with the emblem of the day – a wool and wheatsheaf pin badge – to enable them to join the celebration of agriculture. Food and farming is a key business sector, worth more than £120 billion to the UK economy and providing jobs for almost four million people.
The NFU chose the day to launch a new report which asks for Government to complete a comprehensive report on UK food security later this year, covering the country’s production of key foods and its contribution to global food security. This would be the first meaningful assessment of UK food security in over a decade.
Commenting, Ben Lake MP, said: “I’m proud to wear a pin badge today to show my support for Ceredigion’s fantastic farmers and growers. The day presents an opportunity to thank the farmers who feed us, as well as take care of our countryside and maintain our iconic Welsh landscapes.
“I fully support the campaign which is asking us all to value locally produced food. I will be calling on Government to adopt agricultural policies that ensure farming in Ceredigion can thrive and ensure our self-sufficiency does not fall below its current level of 60%, alongside a greater ambition in promoting Welsh food to aid UK food security.”
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