Monday, 23 January 2012

Electrical Fire Safety Week.

COVEN thought we had better bring to your attention that it is Electrical Fire Safety Week (23 – 29 January 2012). We feel it is important as COVEN are aware that some homes in our area have faulty electrics as we have helped several residents report the problem to LCC environmental health who have in turn forced the landlord to take action and repair faulty and dangerous sockets.

In 2011, 22% of all fires in West Yorkshire were traced back to being an electrical fault, for example an overloaded socket or defective equipment. COVEN can see nothing on East North East Homes website informing tenants of this campaign, nor were we told of it by our local fire stations or fire fighters. This is worrying, as if West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue are going to be as good as their word and improve targeting of fire safety initiatives to enable the number of fires to reduce and hence justify the closing of our two local fire stations, we would have thought they would have spread the word far and wide throughout Burmantofts and Richmond Hill about Electrical Fire Safety Week. Seems they are very good at making people aware of smoke alarms as a method of fire safety – they will alert you to a fire once it has started BUT they aren’t too keen on stopping them in the first place!

Which reminds us............ if you have a smoke alarm that has been fitted by the fire service we have had many reports of the batteries expiring well before their due date!  COVEN would like to bring it to your attention that at a meeting of the fire authority community safety committee (Nov 4th 2011) on which Cllr Ron Grahame sits,  it was decided that smoke alarm batteries would no longer be fitted as of right but call centre staff would undertake a verbal risk assessment to see if the caller was eligible for a home visit or be told they should replace the batteries and / or detector themselves.

It will be interesting to see how this develops but we don’t think it’s going to be difficult to guess – more people injured in house fires because of un maintained smoke detectors. Factor in that when the stations at Gipton and Stanks close instead of a fire engine reaching our area in 5 mins 41 seconds it will arrive in 7 minutes. COVEN think as do many of our local fire fighters that 1 minute 20 seconds can make the difference between life and death.

So please follow the guidance below to ensure you, your home and family are safe.

Don’t overload sockets and try to keep to one plug per socket

• Switch off and unplug appliances when not in use, such as kettles, washing machines, tumble
   dryers and microwaves

• Always check you use the right fuse to prevent overheating

• Do not store combustible materials in or around areas of the incoming mains supply or near
  fuse boxes, in ovens or on top of gas hobs

• Check and replace old or frayed cables 

• Consider using a residual current device (RCD), which protects against electric shocks and
   reduces the risk of electrical fires

• Keep all electrical appliances clean, dust free and in good working order

• Keep heaters away from curtains, furniture and NEVER use them for drying clothes

• Electric blankets should be unplugged before going to bed, unless they have a thermostat for
   safe all-night use.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

West Yorkshire Police - Community Consultation

West Yorkshire Police on the 4th January 2012 launched  a month-long consultation to establish how the county’s residents prefer to communicate with their local officers. The Force is seeking the views of residents to inform decisions regarding the way people will be able to report incidents and receive information in the future.

There is no mention of it on the local Burmantofts and Richmond Hill Neighbourhood Policing Website and COVEN certainly  have not been told of this consultation period by either our local NPT or any of our local councillors!

As we the residents of Burmantofts and Richmond Hill are not due either a PACT Meeting or Neighbourhood Forum meeting until after the consultation period is over, COVEN wish to bring this vital survey to the attention of local residents.  

The survey can be found here     

Please take the time to complete it as we feel it is important to participate  - even if we weren't told of it in the first place !

COVEN are concerned that the survey seems to indicate the wish to close the local police help desks in an effort to reduce costs. As our local labour councillors are now campaigning in the area saying they are opposed to a reduction in the service that the West Yorkshire Police provide we can only hope they are true to their word.

Remember however that Ron Grahame (labour) was very vocal in his opposition of the closure of Gipton & Stanks Fire Stations and then voted at the fire authority to close them resulting in a significantly reduced service for our area and the loss of 24 full time fire fighter posts.

COVEN will post a report and timeline of Councillor Ron Grahames despicable behaviour this space.....

Sunday, 1 January 2012

We are stating the New Year on a positive note

Those of you who live near or travel along the parade of shops at York Road towards the bus stops bound for town will have noticed there has been a really remarkable turnaround in the standards of street cleaning in this area recently.

COVEN spoke to the gentleman in charge of the street cleaning service at the last Inner East Area Committee meeting in December and pointed out the disgusting state of the pavements in this area particularly and asked for him, Mr John Woolmer, to look into the situation and see what could be done.  We are happy to say that Mr Woolmer and his staff have made herculean efforts recently and as a result the area is now no longer the smelly and shameful site it was.

COVEN has also asked about having rubbish bins placed near the take aways and off-licences on the parade and this is being looked into but as always finance is the sticking point on this, though we have great faith in Mr Woolmer doing all that can be done to procure these items to help the clean up stay clean.

The street cleaning staff are working very hard to keep the area clear of rubbish but it would help if those who live here did their own part and made sure that all rubbish is placed in bins (if and when we managed to get them installed) and not left to blow about the streets.

Another really disgusting problem in this area is the amount of dog mess on every available pavement, road, green space or playground.  This has been raised several times with our councillors, Street Cleaning and the dog wardens however the main problem again seems to be that there are not enough dog wardens to effectively police the whole city and there is no money to hire more but we intend to keep after everyone involved to see if this problem can at least be lessened if not eliminated.

If you have any problem or query that you would like COVEN to look into please email us at and we will be happy to talk to you about it.