At 07.55 on Tuesday 5th May Police were informed that one of the decorative Liberation 70 flags that had been fitted to the central lighting units along Victoria Avenue had come away from its mountings due to very strong winds. The flag and metal fittings came lose and smashed through the rear window of a vehicle on the east bound carriageway of the Avenue, the male driver of the car was shocked, but fortunately not injured.
Police units were immediately dispatched to the scene and an assessment was carried out as to the risk of further flags coming lose. Police officers discovered that approximately eight flags had been damaged by the strong winds and had broken free. A full risk assessment was carried out and due to the wind direction at the time, the decision was made to close the east bound carriageway of the Avenue so that the flags could be removed.
Acting Inspector David Turnbull said:
“The decision to close the carriageway was not taken lightly and I was aware of the disruption that would be caused due to the time of morning but I had to weigh this up with the risk presented to the public, which was high. It was fortunate that the earlier incident had not resulted in serious injury to the male driver and I dread to think what would have happened had there been children in the back of the vehicle”.
Assistance was requested from the Jersey Fire and Rescue Service and Transport and Technical Services and a joint operation, lasting approximately 4 hours, commenced to remove the flags. Officers from all agencies worked tirelessly in difficult conditions from Bel Royal to West Park as quickly as possible.
Crew Commander Laurens from the Jersey Fire & Rescue service said,
“It was a joint decision to take down the liberation bunting as it was quite hazardous; the metal ties holding the bunting in place had started to fail on many of the lamp posts, resulting in short lengths of aluminium bar flying around.
“It was bad timing for the Avenue to be closed at rush hour, but with a high risk of further damage or worse it was the best and safest option. Blue Watch responded with 2 pumping appliances initially and were joined by a 3rd crew of on call firefighters as well as a cherry picker from a local company. All worked together to complete the task as quickly as possible.”
Acting Inspector David Turnbull from The States of Jersey Police went on to say,
“I would like to thank my colleagues from the Fire and Rescue Service and Transport and Technical Services, without their help, the task in hand would have taken considerably longer. I would also like to thank the public for their patience and understanding whilst we dealt with this incident. When facing any incident like this, public safety is of paramount importance.”
Health and Safety executives have been informed about the incident and will be looking into the case further.
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