Firefighters help promote digital switch

Watch manager Ian Allsop, left and group manager Ian Cuskin pledge to lend a 'Helping Hand'.
Watch manager Ian Allsop, left and group manager Ian Cuskin pledge to lend a 'Helping Hand'.

TWO North Shields firefighters are lending a ‘helping hand’ to residents before the switch to digital TV.

Fire officers Ian Allsop and Ian Cuskin are assisting with the promotion of the Switchover Help Scheme.

With only six weeks to go to before the Tyne Tees region is one of the last in the country to move from an analogue signal to digital, the Tyne and Wear Fire Service pair are urging residents to follow in their footsteps and lend a ‘helping hand’ by thinking of someone they know that may need help with the switch and the help scheme.

As they visit residents to talk about fire safety in their homes, staff from the local service are also letting them know about the scheme and leaving behind leaflets on how to get in touch.

They are making sure eligible older and disabled people know about the support they can get from the BBC-run scheme to convert one of their TV sets to digital in time for September’s change.

Mr Cuskin, a group manager, said: “We regularly carry out home safety checks when we visit older and disabled people who may be more at risk of fire in their homes - and we’re delighted to spread the word about the scheme as part of these visits.

“At the same time, the Switchover Help Scheme team is helping us to keep people safer from fire by handing out fire safety information when they are out and about helping residents.

“Working in partnership like this means we are able to spread all important fire safety messages to as wide an audience as possible.”

The Pontop Pike transmitter, which serves North Tyneside, will begin to switch to digital on September 12 along with Bilsdale and Chatton transmitters, which also cover the Tyne Tees region.

Eligible people have been posted a Help Scheme information pack explaining the offer and will be getting a follow up reminder letter.

However, the fire safety officers are urging everyone who has already switched to digital to help older and disabled people they know who may still need help.