As summer finally seems to be upon us, Fire Kills, the Government department dedicated to improving fire safety, has made ‘Outdoor Fire Safety’ the theme for June. As an official Fire Kills sponsor, Safelincs is helping to spread the message.
Safety initiatives over the years have meant that actual fires caused by barbecues are uncommon. However, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), almost 2,000 people attend A&E units each year having had an accident involving a barbecue. Some of the accidents lead to very serious burns, usually as a result of using an accelerant such as petrol to light the fuel. The number of accidents usually increases if we have a hot summer.
Messages from Fire Kills that the fire service are being asked to communicate to the public include:
• Don’t drink too much alcohol if in charge of the barbecue (or any cooking!).
• Make sure the barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
• Never leave a barbecue or any cooking unattended.
• Never use a barbecue indoors; fumes from barbecues include the deadly gas carbon monoxide
• Keep a bucket of water, sand or the garden hose nearby for emergencies.
• Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
• Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive a barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on coal.
• Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire.
A few basic precautions are advised that will reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading:
• Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
• Don’t smoke inside a tent.
• Place the cooking area well away from the tent and clear of anything that could catch fire easily such as long, dry grass
• Set up tents at least six metres apart and away from parked cars.
• Keep cooking area clear of items that catch fire easily, including long, dry grass and in a place where they can’t easily be knocked over.
• Keep matches, lighters, flammable liquids and gas cylinders out of the reach of children.
• Have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire.
IT SHOULD BE PARTICULARLY STRESSED THAT BARBECUES SHOULD NEVER BE BROUGHT INSIDE A TENT. THEY EMIT DEADLY CARBON DIOXIDE FUMES (EVEN MORE WHEN THEY ARE COOLING DOWN). FATALITIES HAVE OCCURRED IN THE PAST.
Fire safety on inland and coastal boats and pleasure crafts is also an issue. Fires can spread quickly on a boat, even on water. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and detectors should be installed as a matter of course. Additional messages when living on board include:
• Maintaining a boat’s fuel, gas and electrical systems on a regular basis.
• Setting up an emergency plan with everyone on board before setting out.
Having working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in a caravan is just as important as having them at home. Additional messages for those staying in caravans include:
• Ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars.
• If smoking, use metal ashtrays – and never smoke in bed.
• Don’t leave children alone inside.
• Don’t block air vents
• Turn off all appliances before leaving the caravan or going to bed.
• Never use a cooker or heater whilst the caravan is moving.
Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Some fires are started deliberately, but most are due to carelessness. Dry ground in the summer means there’s an added risk of a fire starting. A few simple precautions will help reduce incidents.
• Extinguish cigarettes properly and never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
• Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
• Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires
• Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.
• If a fire is spotted in the countryside, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately.
• Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
Safelincs wishes its customers a happy and safe summer!