Safer Vale – Fire Hydrants / Fire Incidents


A previous acquaintance of mine moved to a new home consisting of a small holding in rural Wales and a discussion led to me giving some general fire safety advice for somebody living ‘off grid’. It struck me that many of the issues covered have relevance, to varying degrees, to residents of the Vale of Glamorgan whether in the rural vale or towns and hamlets. I would like to share that information.

You may think the following to be inappropriate or unnecessary as we have a professional Fire & Rescue Service that responds to these incidents, who we can rely upon, but it is well meant and designed to provoke thought and personal preparedness.

Do you know the location / availability of the fire hydrant near to your house? They can often get covered by the grass of the road verge and general road muck so you may wish to identify where your nearest hydrant is so you can use that information in an emergency. In addition if you, or others, do not know of its location you may inadvertently park over the top of it making it inaccessible for emergency use.

Historically, though fortunately not a frequent occurrence, emergency hydrants have even had tarmac laid over them by contractors carrying out highway repairs.

There are other issues relating to ‘fire emergencies’ and you may be on the case already but if not, here goes;

Have you considered your position / action in the event of a fire at your property?

  1. How far you are from an adopted road? You should certainly identify the location of the nearest fire hydrant – usually indicated by a ‘post and plate’ indicating the size of the main and the distance of the hydrant itself from the sign.(If you ever had to call the fire service then you are in a position to let them know where it is as, whilst they should know, they could lose valuable time locating it) (Fire appliances do carry a tank of water which will deal with most smaller incidents but need hydrants to supplement supplies when dealing with larger more protracted incidents).
  2. If there is no hydrant within a reasonable distance is there any ‘open water supply’ e.g. lake, pond stream which could be used by the fire service if necessary. Also is there a suitable ‘hard standing’ adjacent to the water source that will take the weight of a fire appliance for access and pumping.
  3. If the nearest fire station to you is some distance, not so common in the Vale, but some more rural areas are covered by retained (part-time) personnel so it could take some time for the fire service to respond so have you considered your potential for first aid firefighting eg some appropriate extinguishers and a fire blanket for the home and garage including a C02 for electrical fires, (and the ability / knowledge to use them). Also the provision of a garden hose which would be long enough to give you a continuous supply to fight a fire in its early stages. (Any fire extinguishers would require adequate maintenance and servicing). Of course you must never take any unnecessary personal risk if you do not feel capable or have sufficient knowledge to tackle even small fires including the knowledge as to what extinguishing media to use on various fire types.
  1. In regard to your personal safety have you got smoke alarms and a CO alarm in the house? These are basic necessities – seriously.
  2. Of course the best cure to any of the above is prevention so an annual inspection and safety check on potential hazards eg boiler’s whether LPG, gas or oil and if not done for some years a safety inspection of your electrical wiring. Then a view on where you store any hazardous materials like LPG, fuel, fertilizers, dense vegetation close to your property in dry spring / summer months including the use of BBQ’s etc. ie anything likely to become an ignition source or support the spread of any potential fire.
  3. Also, consider your plan of action should a fire occur in your home or its outbuildings. Consider most likely occurrence eg fire in the kitchen and discuss with your family what actions you might take and yes – even rehearse those actions as you may identify potential flaws or further queries. Don’t forget to consider day and night time scenarios.
  4. Of course you will likely be aware that the Fire and Rescue Service that serves your location has a duty to make arrangements for access and water supplies in relation to firefighting but with the ever increasing pressures and reduced funding on all public services anything you can do in providing information to emergency crews on arrival or on ‘first aid’ measures with a view to protecting yours and your neighbour’s property can only help.
  5. These same principles apply in relation to the location and availability of fire hydrants and some of the other items listed above in a village, hamlet or small town.
  6. If you contact South Wales Fire & Rescue Service (Community Safety Dept.) they would be happy to give you any advice and safety leaflets that they have, on a range of potential hazards, for people like yourselves who may be slightly further away from the built up town, village or hamlet environment than many and as such may need to consider some additional ‘first aid’ measures in the event of an unlikely emergency to protect themselves.
  7. If you are an elderly or vulnerable resident of South Wales the Fire Service will carry out a free and specific ‘Home Fire Safety Check’ at your property. They will visit your home by appointment and give relevant safety advice which may include the fitting of free smoke alarms where appropriate.


N.B. Of course, in this day and age, there is always a health warning – and you should never put yourself or others at risk if you do not feel entirely confident about taking any of the above proposed actions. If in doubt call the South Wales Fire & Rescue Service for their expert advice and guidance

If you have all the above in hand great. If not, the thought process and discussion which the above is intended to encourage will enhance your personal safety relating to a scenario that we hope will never happen to us in our lifetime – a bit like a ‘pandemic’.

Retired Fire Officer & resident St Lythans



Father’s Day 19th June


Father’s Day was invented by American Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd who wanted to honour her father, a veteran who had, as a single parent, raised his six children. The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910. The first American president to support the concept of Father’s Day was President Calvin Coolidge, but it wasn’t until 1966 that President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation that resulted in the declaration of the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day.


Chatterbooks and Challenges


Tel: 02920 594176 – during opening hours or

Like and follow us on Facebook at:

For general enquiries you can email us at


With the success of the school visits to the Hub and Library, we are planning a Chatterbooks group for our young people during the summer holidays. Chatterbooks is a junior book club which we hope will continue to excite youngsters in the 8 – 10 year old age range about reading.

The Chatterbooks co-ordinator will suggest a theme. The young readers can bring their own books related to the theme or borrow books from the library. Around the second week of August, the group will meet up at the library to talk about the books they have read and make their recommendations.

Summer Reading Challenge

This year’s theme is Gadgeteers. The Challenge will be launched at the school towards the end of the summer term and further information about activities will be available at the library.

Storytime for the toddlers has been a joy since it started and will continue during the summer holidays on Wednesdays 9.30am – 10.30am.

Community Hub Limerick competition

The winner of this year’s Limerick competition, on the theme of the new library, is Gordon Jones who wins a bottle of Prosecco.

In Wenvoe the Library Hub

Has attracted diners from the pub

The Hub’s volunteers

Have shed copious tears

As they struggle through culture and grub



Hot Smoked Mackerel Jackets

Hot Smoked Mackerel Jackets

4 medium baking potatoes

2-3 tbsp horseradish sauce (or to taste)

100ml warm whole milk

1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced at an angle

4 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned and flaked

Cook the potatoes in the microwave until softened turning halfway through. LEAVE TO REST THEY WILL BE HOT. Half the potatoes lengthways and, using a spoon, scoop out the flesh into a bowl, leaving a shell of potato around the skin. Heat the grill to high. Mash the potato with the horseradish sauce and the milk until smooth and creamy, then fold in the spring onions and mackerel. Season, then spoon the mash back into the potato skins. Place on a baking tray and grill for 5 mins until the mash is heated through and golden on top.



Chicken and Rice One-Pot

Chicken and Rice One-Pot

4 chicken breasts, skin on

50g chorizo sausage. skinned and cut into chunks

1 large onion, roughly chopped

200g basmati rice, washed

500ml chicken stock (cube)

400g tin kidney beans in water, drained and rinsed

few thyme sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried thyme

handful of pitted green olives

Heat a deep frying pan, then fry the chicken breasts, skin side down, for about 8 mins turning half way through until golden. Pour off excess fat. Tip in the chorizo and fry for about a minute until it releases its oils. Remove the chicken and chorizo, then fry the onion in the remaining oil for 3 mins until softened. Tip in the rice, stir together with the onion, then return the chicken and chorizo to the pan. Pour in the chicken stock, add the remaining ingredients and season to taste. Cover and cook on a medium heat for about 10 mins, until the chicken is cooked and the rice is fluffy.



Speedy Moroccan Meatballs

Speedy Moroccan Meatballs

1 tbsp olive oil

350g pack ready made beef meatballs (approx 16)

1 large onion, sliced

100g dried apricots, halved

1 small cinnamon stick

400g tin chopped tomatoes

3 large garlic, finely chopped

25g toasted flaked almonds

handful coriander, roughly chopped

Heat oil in a large deep frying pan, then fry the meatballs for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through. Scoop out of the pan and set aside, then cook the onions and garlic for about 5 mins, until softened. Add the apricots, cinnamon stick, tomatoes and half a can of water to the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 mins. Remove the cinnamon stick. Return the meatballs to the pan and coat well with the tomato sauce. Serve sprinkled with the almonds and coriander, cooked couscous and crusty bread to mop up the juices.



1 2 3 4