Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has a new podcast, ‘Out of the ashes: stories from Lancashire’. It is the product of communications apprentice Lucinda Heavyside who developed the concept and these pilot episodes as part of her end-point assessment.
In the first episode, we hear about the service’s first community responder, Andy Dow, and how his actions saved the life of Diane Fenton, whose heart stopped beating. Both Andy and Diane talk about the experience, providing their own perspective on what happened. After dropping the grandchildren home, Diane was driving home and the next thing she remembers is waking up in hospital.
With a background in St John’s Ambulance, Andy Dow has been part of the Preston first responder group for several years. A conversation with the Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Lancashire resulted in Andy, who is a community fire safety practitioner, being encouraged to sign on as a first responder while at work.
In the podcast’s second episode, we hear about wildfires from Station Manager, Rob Harvey. In 2022, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service attended 120 wildfire incidents. The service wants to increase public awareness of the dangers of wildfires, often started accidentally by barbecues and campfires during dry weather.
Rob mentions the benefits of using the phone app What Three Words to identify rural locations when notifying the emergency services of an incident. He also explains how fire can smoulder underground unseen, particularly when a barbecue is placed directly on the ground. Given the increasing numbers of wildfires, any opportunity to get advice out to the local community is well worth taking.
The third episode of this pilot looks at disposable barbecues and how in one case, incorrect disposal led to a house fire that saw Paul O’Brien moving into temporary accommodation for two years as a result. Paul is now an on-call firefighter and gives a glimpse of what it’s like to volunteer to help his local community.
It’s a great start for Lancashire’s communications team and well worth commissioning more episodes to shine a light into the day-to-day realities of a modern fire and rescue service.