Latest advice from Public Health England 18.5.18

Residents in areas affected by Deptford fire are being advised that they should continue to follow public health advice over the coming weekend.

People living and working near the site should limit the time they spend outside and avoid the smoke. Where this is not possible they should reduce physical exertion in areas affected especially if they experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

The majority of people are unlikely to experience any health effects following exposure to smoke from a fire, however because any smoke is an irritant, it can make people's eyes and throat sore.

Smoke is more likely to affect people who have existing breathing problems, lung or heart conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic pulmonary disease or heart disease. It can also affect the very young and the elderly. People with these conditions should avoid strenuous physical activity in areas affected by smoke. People with asthma who may be in the vicinity of the fire should carry their inhaler.

If symptoms persist seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your General Practitioner (GP). If a medical consultant is already treating an existing health condition, discuss your concerns and symptoms with them. In the case of an emergency call 999.

As work continues over the weekend to remove debris not affected by the fire from the site there may be from time to time an increased odour which although unpleasant is not a risk to health.

 

Public Health England Advice 17.5.18

Public Health England is continuing to advise people living and working near the site of the Deptford fire to take care and avoid the smoke.

Smoke consists of a mixture of gases, liquid droplets and solid particles; some of the substances present in smoke can irritate the lining of the air passages (nose, throat and lungs), the skin and the eyes.

Symptoms may include coughing and wheezing, sore throat, feeling short of breath, runny nose or eyes or chest pain. In general, exposure to smoke is more likely to affect people who have existing breathing problems, lung or heart conditions (e.g. asthma, bronchitis, chronic pulmonary disease or heart disease). These individuals should avoid strenuous physical activity in areas affected by smoke.

The very young and very old, smokers and people with flu or flu-like illnesses may also be at greater risk after exposure to smoke from fires.

People who are generally fit and well are unlikely to experience long-term health problems from temporary exposure to smoke from a fire. To minimise your exposure, shelter as much as possible by limiting the amount of time you spend outside in the smoke. Reduce physical exertion in areas affected by smoke especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat. People with asthma who may be in the vicinity of the fire should carry their inhaler.

If symptoms persist seek medical advice by calling NHS 111 or by contacting your General Practitioner (GP). If a medical consultant is already treating an existing health condition, discuss your concerns and symptoms with them. In the case of an emergency call 999.

Residents in areas affected by the smoke should stay indoors, keep their doors and windows closed and follow @PHE_NorthEast for the latest health advice and information. During the day, if smoke is visible outside, please stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed, consider turning off air conditioning and keep air vents closed. Businesses may wish to consider the same advice.

Motorists who have to travel through the smoke should keep windows closed, turn off air conditioning and keep their air vents closed.

The majority of people are unlikely to experience any health effects following exposure to smoke from a fire, however because any smoke is an irritant, it can make people's eyes and throat sore.  

 

Joint Statement from the Environment Agency and Sunderland City Council 17.5.18

Partners involved in tackling the ongoing fire at the abandoned Alex Smiles waste site in Deptford area of Sunderland are continuing to work together to contain the blaze and work towards a solution for the site.

The Environment Agency, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Sunderland City Council, Northumbria Police and Public Health England have been responding to the fire since it broke out on Monday evening.

Officers from all the agencies involved are meeting daily to assess and respond to the latest developments and agree a course of action. Environment Agency officers have attended the site to assess any potential environmental impact of the fire, and to give guidance on fire water run-off and air quality.

Sunderland City Council and the Environment Agency are also carrying out air quality monitoring with equipment set up near the site to monitor the smoke from the fire.

In the long term both organisations are keen to press ahead with their aim of bringing the site back into use.

The privately owned waste site was abandoned when the business went into administration in 2015, leaving behind thousands of tonnes of waste, requiring millions of pounds to safely remove.

This has created a massive financial burden on the public purse which the council and Environment Agency were working together to address by bringing the site back into use with minimal taxpayers' money. Unfortunately the fire happened before this plan could be put into action.

Although responsibility for the site sits with the former owners' pension fund which now owns it, both the council and the Environment Agency are committed to continuing to work together to find a creative solution to the problem left behind by the site owners when the business failed.

 

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