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RNLI call for people to follow safety advice on the coast this holiday

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THIS CHRISTMAS and New Year as people choose to blow away the festive cobwebs on the coast, the RNLI has teamed up with the MCA to support the Winter Coastal Safety Campaign.

The campaign serves as a reminder that the coast and sea can be incredibly dangerous places – from rough winter seas to changing tides and unstable and eroding clifftop edges.

This Christmas, it’s business as usual for volunteer lifeboat crew around the coast who are ready to swap the turkey and tinsel for saving lives at a moment’s notice.

The charity and the MCA are hoping people adhere to government guidelines if lucky enough to live close to the coast. Also people are being urged to take heed of vital safety advice to ensure they and their families stay safe. The RNLI is keen to stress that it is people out enjoying the shoreline who are most at risk of drowning.

The RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign Respect the Water advocates the benefits of floating should people find themselves in cold water.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales says: “As people enjoy some well-deserved time off, we expect some families heading out and about enjoying our coastlines. Coastal walking is a very safe activity most of the time, but slips and falls from walking and running are the biggest cause of death on our coastline. We don’t want to stop people having fun, but want to share our safety advice to ensure everyone is able to enjoy Christmas.”

The RNLI is offering the following advice to people who will visit the coast this holiday:

  • Be wary of all edges around the sea and waterside. Slips and falls happen in all locations; it is not just high cliff edges that are a risk.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Take care when walking in dark and slippery conditions.
  • Always take a means of calling for help. Always check the weather and tides. Getting cut off by the tide is a common cause of lifeboat launches.

Chris adds: “The sea is particularly cold this time of year, if you do enter the water unexpectedly the RNLI’s advice is to float on your back for a short time to regain control of your breathing. The natural reaction is to panic, but floating until you are in a position to call for help will give you a much better chance of surviving.”

The MCA campaign encourages people to add a ‘coastal safety check list’ to their Christmas list. The advice includes:

Before you set-off, make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear and carrying a fully-charged mobile phone so that you have a means of contacting family, friends or dialling 999 and asking for the coastguard, in a coastal emergency.

Always let people know when you’ll be back home too and don’t be tempted to take a risky photo by a cliff edge or large waves for social media, it could be the last moment you ever capture.
Get familiar with the area by reading local safety information, warnings and advice, and also check tide timings online before you go so that you don’t get caught out.
Open spaces are ideal for dog walking but please keep your furry friends on a lead and if your pet does get into danger, do not attempt to self-rescue your animal. Call 999 Coastguard and ask for our assistance.

Claire Hughes, Director of HM Coastguard, said: “We are expecting lots of visitors to the coast over the holiday period and are prepared and ready, as always, to deal with all emergency situations. But please take note of our safety advice and don’t take risks, be responsible for your actions and follow the Government’s Covid-19 guidance.”

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Pembroke Dock: Two in hospital following Fort Road car accident

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EMERGENCY SERVICES dealt with what has been described by a witness as a “horrific car accident” in the Pembroke Dock area on Wednesday night (Jun 12).

A 23-year-old woman, driving a black BMW, travelled down Fort Road at speed, hit a low wall, catapulting the vehicle some considerable distance across a picnic area. The vehicle ended up irreparably damaged on the beach – which was luckily not in use at the time – landing next to the old Cambridge Gun Tower.

No other vehicles seem to have been involved, police said.

The driver has been arrested but remains in hospital, one passenger is in a critical but stable condition, in Cardiff, and a second passenger sustained only minor injuries.

A spokesperson for Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at 10.45pm on Wednesday night (Jun 23), to reports of a road traffic accident near the Fort Road car park in Pembroke Dock.

“We attended the scene with one rapid response vehicle, two emergency ambulances and our Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service.

“Two people were taken to University Hospital Wales, Cardiff for further treatment.”

The police are appealing in the media for information following the crash.

An official statement from the police reads as follows: “We were called to Fort Road, Pembroke Dock, at around 10.45pm on Wednesday night to reports of a single-vehicle collision. Ambulance and fire service also attended.

“A 19-year-old man was taken to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff and remains in a critical but stable condition.

“A second passenger attended hospital for minor injuries but has since been discharged. A 23-year-old woman was arrested, and currently remains in hospital.

“Anyone who witnessed the collision but who has not yet spoken to us should get in touch by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, visiting our website, or calling 101.

UPDATE: 24.06.2021, 15:47HRS

On Thursday (Jun 24) said that the female who was arrested was de-arrested because of the need for medical treatment, and is “no longer under arrest at this time.”

The police also added that their investigation was “still active”.

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Pembrokeshire call handler helps deliver Llanelli couple’s new baby

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A 999 CALL HANDLER from Pembrokeshire has helped deliver a Llanelli couple’s baby.

Father-of-two Chris Bassett, from Hook, answered the call from the Trust’s Clinical Contact Centre in Carmarthen, and whose instructions on loudspeaker enabled the pair to deliver their 8lb 1oz new arrival safely.

Thanks to Chris, Troy Smith, 34, and partner Abigail Jones, 33, delivered baby Arabella Dilys Smith in the bedroom of their Llanelli home.

Troy said: “I’ve never felt adrenaline like it but I knew I had to focus on the situation for Abigail and the baby’s sake.

“It all happened so quickly, but Chris’ voice on the other end of the phone kept us calm.”

Abigail, a teacher at Ysgol Carreg Hir in Briton Ferry, went into labour at around 10.00pm on Thursday, June 3, and made a trip to hospital, where nurses confirmed she was in the early stages.

The couple returned to their Pwll home, but their soon-to-be daughter had other ideas.

Troy said: “At around 4.30am, Abigail developed a lot of pain and said she had an urge to push.

“I thought, ‘Right, this is happening’ and phoned an ambulance because I knew I’d be delivering the baby right there and then.”

It was Chris, a former RAF Aerospace Systems Operator, who picked up the call in the early hours of Friday, June 4.

The 29-year-old, who has been with the Welsh Ambulance Service for 18 months, said: “As soon as I answered the call, it was obvious that Troy and Abigail were in distress, as anyone would be in that situation.

“The priority was to get Abigail in a comfortable position to deliver the baby safely.

“For me, it was about giving them clear instructions while trying to keep them both calm.”

Troy added: “I just did what came naturally. When you’re in that situation, you just do it.

“As soon as Arabella came, I felt this wave of relief and I just couldn’t believe how gorgeous she was.

“Chris was so professional and handled the situation really well.

“He gave us all the information and kept us calm.”

Ambulance crews arrived soon after, and took Abigail to Carmarthen’s Glangwili General Hospital, where she was treated for shock before being discharged the following day.

Abigail said: “The whole thing was petrifying because I just never expected to be having the baby at home, but we’re so grateful to Chris for helping us to deliver Arabella safely.”

Chris added: “In your role as a 999 call handler, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, but I’m just glad this call had a happy ending.

“This is the third baby I’ve helped to deliver during my time at the ambulance service, but the first one I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.”

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Covid causes partial school closure at Haverfordwest High VC

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A PARTIAL school closure is in force today at Haverfordwest High VC school after a pupil in year 9 has tested positive for coronavirus.

All students in year 9 must stay at home , isolate and await further instruction while the school completes all of the necessary Track and Trace processes.

In a statement released by the school, they said: “We have been informed that a Year 9 pupil has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We wish them a speedy recovery.

“As a precautionary measure and to enable us to complete all of the necessary Track and Trace processes, the school will be closed to Year 9 Pupils today.

“The school remains open to all other year groups.

“Until further notice, Year 9 students should stay at home and isolate until further instructions are given. Lessons for all other year groups will continue as usual. Unless your child is in Year 9 they should attend school.”

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