Emergency Services On Stand-by For Christmas Day

Scilly’s Fire Station Officer is hoping that his team won’t need to deal with any incidents today. And no incidents had been reported by 4pm.

The last Christmas ‘shout’ came around 15 years ago when chemical drums washed up on Town Beach.

There are fewer fires annually now, compared to the 1990s, and Declan Ridsdale thinks the fire service safety visits have helped improve risk awareness.

Duncan says better electrical equipment makes a difference, as “British standards are enforced now.”

Education also plays a part. In the summer, islands youngsters are taught about fire safety during the Duke of Edinburgh programme.

Declan says his team promote a ‘common sense’ approach. School pupils are asked how many devices are connected to each electricity socket. Many realise that having a Wii, iPod, computer and mobile phone connected to an extension socket can overload it.

They are advised against throwing clothing on the floor when they get home from school, another fire risk.

Each winter, Declan’s team assesses around 100 islands homes and guest houses in a rolling programme that started 2 weeks ago.

If there are emergencies, Declan says there are a ‘nucleus of 6 staff on St Mary’s and three on each off-island’ on standby to tackle any eventuality.

That means some retained crew won’t be able to indulge in the Christmas celebrations that many people take for granted.

“We are a small place and all officers who work with us take the job seriously and know there is no back-up from Penzance or Camborne,” Declan says.

The Ambulance crew is on stand-by today too.

There’s been one call out on St Mary’s early today and two islanders are staying in hospital at St Mary’s on Christmas Day.

Ambulance Technician Karen Johnson told Radio Scilly “It’s a good sign that the hospital is quiet this time of year as it means everyone is well enough and able to enjoy a wonderful Christmas with friends and loved ones.”

First responders will be on duty to provide the first assistance in any medical emergency on the off-islands.

On Tresco, Peter Marshall is on call.

Peter hopes that any callouts will be minor and he says, “the worst things we will probably deal with will be overeating or people being drunk.”

He is used to having a sober Christmas Day. He tells Scilly Today, “I’ve pulled the short straw for the past three Christmas days so I won’t be drinking.”