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GovTech Catalyst challenge now in second phase

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MID and WEST WALES Fire and Rescue Service says it is pleased to announce that it is progressing into Phase 2 of its GovTech Catalyst challenge.
Phase 1 of the GovTech Catalyst challenge involved 5 companies who were each awarded up to £50,000 to develop location tracking technology in order to enhance firefighter safety within buildings. Following a highly competitive process, Phase 2 will provide funding for the two successful organisations, Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth, as they progress to the next stage of the Challenge.

Under the terms of Phase 2, Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth will continue to work with MAWWFRS to further develop and refine their solutions to track firefighters within building and structures in real-time. Both organisations will now be eligible to apply for up to £500,000, including VAT, to further develop this ground-breaking technology over the course of the next 12 months.

The GovTech Catalyst challenge aims to enable real-time tracking of firefighters within buildings and structures by developing technology to answer the following four questions:

1.How can we enable instantly deployable real-time tracking of Firefighters within buildings and prevailing hazards at unknown locations?
2.How can we deploy mobile technology to allow the tracking of Firefighters which can instantly create a ‘digital network’ to share information at all incident locations?
3.How can we provide a software solution which improves the way we collect and share information with other Emergency Responders and partner agencies?
4.How can we present a real-time 3D map of operational environments, using virtual and augmented reality technologies, to enhance operational safety and post-incident review?

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Roger Thomas said, “We have grasped this opportunity to utilise funding from the GovTech Catalyst challenge to reduce operational risk and further enhance the safety and wellbeing of our firefighters.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is looking forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth to develop a product that will help us realise our vision, to be a world leader in emergency response and community safety.”

MAWWFRS Programme lead for the GovTech Catalyst challenge, Group Manager Steve McLinden said “I am delighted to be able to continue our work with Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth following the successful progress which was made within Phase 1 of the challenge. We are looking forward to further developing our professional partnership with both teams to evolve this pioneering, lifesaving safety solution. The complexity and difficultly of this technical innovation should not be under-estimated, however, we are extremely confident that we will be able to develop commercially viable solutions over the next 12 months.”

Jason Jones, CEO, Brandwidth, said: “Winning one of the two final spots in this process, which saw us compete against defence contractors, incumbent firefighter OEMs and engineering specialists, is a huge validation of our agile, innovation-led approach.

It’s been a humbling experience working with the Mid and West Wales Fire Service, and we’re delighted to have built such a strong partnership with them. Our close relationship has enabled us to create a cutting-edge, potentially life-saving solution to their everyday challenges.”

Chris Murray, Tech Lead, Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems, said: “Oxon Tech is delighted to be supporting this exciting project, alongside collaboration partners Greeve Systems and Dynium Robot. Wherever IT meets extreme use cases is always a fascinating area to be working in, and we’re looking forward to bringing our combined experience to the table to solve this incredibly worthwhile challenge.”

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More investment on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway

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The final stage of recovery works to repair damage caused by Storm Callum on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway.

A highly complex programme of phased works has already been completed in one of the worst hit areas at Cwmduad, when a landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.

Repairs as a result of the storm have also been carried out at Bronwydd.

Some 20 miles of the A484 was affected by the extreme weather conditions in Carmarthenshire in October 2018 stretching from Carmarthen to Cenarth.

Phase two of the support works have now started at other affected areas at Henallt Bends, Pante South, Llwyfan Cerrig Station, Foelfach, Tirgwili/Rock and Fountain, Mile End, Nantclawdd, the A484/A475 junction, Gelligatti before finishing at Flatwood in Cenarth.

Works will include felling damaged trees, providing foundations for new safety barriers, stabilising embankments and installing new highway drainage chambers.

Carmarthenshire Council secured funding from Welsh Government to carry out maintenance of the highway in response to detailed inspections following the storm.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This has been a very complex operation covering over 20 miles and involving a number of agencies. Whilst the safety of the public is paramount, every effort will be made to ensure these essential works are carried out with as minimal disruption as possible until they have been completed. We understand that this has had a major impact on the local community and road users, and we would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation whilst these recovery and repair works are being carried out.”

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Sunday opening for three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire

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Three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire have opened their doors to the public on a Sunday as part of a trial in the region.

Gravells in Llanelli and Nigel Williams in Llandeilo and Cross Hands will be open for members of the public who need to see a healthcare professional for treatment for common ailments and minor injuries.

This trial is to support the GP out of hours service by encouraging patients to access the pharmacy as the first point of call.

The well-established Triage and Treat provision is already available in the pharmacies through the week and on Saturdays.

The types of low level injuries that can be treated under Triage and Treat service are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns including sunburn. If the injury is too serious to be treated in the pharmacy, patients will be given advice about where to go.

Depending on which pharmacist is covering they are also offering Sore Throat Test and Treat; this is a new scheme which allows patients to call into their local pharmacy and be tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test.

Following a consultation and assessment by the pharmacist, medication may be supplied for those patients where an antibiotic is required.

In many cases, a sore throat is the result of a viral rather than bacterial infection which means antibiotics will not work, and self-care and rest are the best course of action.

The pharmacies will also be able to help with providing emergency contraception and emergency supplies of medication as well as offering advice and treatment for common ailments.

The participating pharmacies are:

• Gravells Pharmacy, Off Thomas Street, Llanelli – open 10am – 1pm

• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, 109 Rhosmaen Street, Llandeilo – open 12pm -2pm

• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, Isfryn, Carmarthen Road, Cross Hands – open 3pm – 5pm

Pharmacist James Throne of Gravells Pharmacy said: “We’re pleased to be able to open on a Sunday morning to offer a range of services to patients who otherwise may have travelled to a hospital for treatment.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The Health Board is delighted that we continue to expand the range of Services we are able to offer patients locally.

“Our Community Pharmacies are providing an increasing number of enhanced Services which enable patients and the public to seek assistance without having to attend a hospital or GP practice.

“We believe that providing these Services on a Sunday on a trial basis, will increase the local advice and support available to patients during the weekend period.”

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Man arrested for illegal burning of waste

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A man has been arrested in connection with the illegal burning of waste in the Llanelli area, following an investigation by Natural Resources Wales officers.

Smoke from the burning waste has caused concern for people living in the vicinity.

NRW is working with its partner agencies, Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire County Council and Dyfed-Powys Police to tackle waste crime across the county and has appealed to the public for help.

Pippa Sabine, Tackling Waste Crime officer for NRW, said:

“If an offer seems too good to be true then beware, it is highly likely that the carrier is operating illegally and dumping waste where it will harm the local community and the environment.

“On average a legitimate waste carrier charges around £52 to remove a car boot sized bundle of waste while a van load would cost £166 and an average skip load around £230.

“If you are being charged less then ask if they are a registered waste carrier and check our public register.

“Please report any suspicious or illegal activity to the NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.”

The Arson Reduction Team, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have assisted NRW and Dyfed Powys Police as part of this operation.

Arson Reduction Team Police Sergeant Marc Davies said:

“Protecting our communities is a key priority for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

“The illegal dumping and burning of waste causes a serious nuisance to the surrounding community and whilst fire crews are dealing with these incidents, they are unable to attend other emergency calls.

“It is vital that we work closely with our partners in tackling this crime and support them with their investigations and enforcement.”

Sergeant Gemma Davies from Llwynhendy Neighbourhood Policing Team added:

“We rely on our community to share information with us to target and tackle crimes of this nature.

“By working with partner agencies, we can effectively deal with offences, keep our communities safe from harm from such offences and reduce demand placed on front line policing.”

The public can contact 101 to provide information or report offences or can do so anonymously through Crimestoppers.

To check the NRW public register visit https://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/permits-and-permissions/check-for-a-permit-licence-or-exemption/?lang=en

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