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Reserves

Last night the fireDoc3 brigade were called to the Hawk and Owl Trust Peregrine nesting platform on Norwich Cathedral at just before 11pm. A member of the public watching the live web camera footage believed that they could see smoke rising from one of the wires from the camera. The fire brigade responded and, with great difficulty, accessed the nest box via the spire. Thankfully, it was a false alarm, a visual effect caused by light on a trapped fluffy down feather wrapped around the wire.

We are aware that supporters monitor the cameras day and night and care deeply about the Peregrine family that have made their home on the platform, however, the Trust would like to remind everyone of a few facts which may help prevent further false alarms.

Safety of the platform, and most particularly the structure of the historic cathedral, were paramount during the installation and siting of the nest box and the Trust worked alongside colleagues from the Cathedral Estates Department during the design and installation of the whole system.

The camera system runs on a very low voltage system, so shorting is extremely unlikely. In the very unlikely event of damage the whole system is fused and would shut down immediately. This means that web camera observers would not be able to watch the kind of event the fire brigade was called out for last night as the cameras would cease working and transmitting.

The approach to the nest platform is very difficult and, especially, with firefighting equipment, time consuming and noisy. Such an approach at a time during the season when adults or young were still on the platform could have a catastrophic effect on the safety of the chicks, or even disturb the adults enough to prevent them breeding on the platform.

In the absolute worst-case scenario of the platform setting alight, the fire would very quickly burn itself out. The platform, albeit wooden, is fixed to the stone spire via metal brackets, and the wiring and computers are safely housed, fused, with a metal container.

We are enormously grateful for the work the fire service do, and we wish to ensure that they are not called in error causing them a time consuming and difficult ascent or, even worse, taking their time when they may be needed elsewhere.

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