Summer’s here, hooray! Long summer days and evenings, entertaining in the garden and trips to the countryside help promote the feel-good factor and put a spring in our step. But when it comes to summer and outside living with barbecues, camping, and countryside pursuits, we often forget the importance of summer fire safety. There are some important points everyone should consider when it comes to summer fire safety.
Barbecues are usually the first on the list when the weather tempts us outside. Having a barbecue is an enjoyable experience but cooking over hot coals can be hazardous, especially when family and friends can easily prove a distraction which can lead to concentration and safety getting overlooked. There a few things that should be considered when using a barbecue:
- Make sure your barbecue is well maintained and a bucket of sand or water should be kept to hand in case of emergencies.
- Keep your barbecue away from sheds, fences, trees and shrubs and site on flat, stable ground.
- Keep children, pets and activities away from the cooking area.
- If using a gas barbecue, check the fuel and airlines and make sure they are not blocked. If you suspect a leak, brush soapy water around all joints and watch for bubbles. Leaky joints should be tightened gently to prevent leaks, do not overtighten.
- Never store spare gas cylinders.
- Use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue and use only recognised lighters or starter fuel on cold coals, not petrol or paraffin. NEVER spray lighter fuel to an already lit fire as this can trigger flashback and cause clothing or the container to explode.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking on a barbecue and NEVER leave your barbecue unattended.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children and supervise them around outdoor grills.
- Allow the barbecue to cool before responsibly disposing of the coals. Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, never place them in paper, plastic or wooden containers.
- Never barbecue in enclosed areas, carbon monoxide can be produced which can be lethal.
- Fire and alcohol can be a deadly combination in excess, if you are in charge of the barbecue, cut back on the alcohol!
Camping is great fun and there is nothing better than relaxing with nature and sleeping under the stars. When it comes to camping and fire safety there are a few things you should remember to keep you safe:
- Tents should be kept at least 6 metres apart
- Check the campsite for their fire-fighting rules and precautions
- Make a note of the nearest telephone and map reference for emergencies
- Use a torch and never lighted candles. Oil burning equipment should never be used in or around a tent
- Flammable liquids, gas cylinders and cooking equipment should be kept outside the tent and out of reach of children
- Keep cooking equipment away from tents as accidents happen and never cook near flammable materials, long grass or shrubbery
- Never smoke inside a tent
Fires in tents spread rapidly and can destroy a tent in less than 60 seconds. If a fire occurs, have an escape plan and be prepared to cut an exit should the worse happen. Call the emergency services and give an exact location, map reference or landmark to help them locate you as quickly as possible. Ensure everyone knows what to do should their clothing ignite – stop, drop and roll.
Camping is a wonderful experience and generally a safe one, but ensuring you are covering the essential danger hazards and are aware of how to avoid and overcome them should an accident happen ensures a relaxing and worry-free break leaving you to enjoy what nature has to offer.
Countryside Fire Safety
The countryside is there for us all to enjoy and love and should be treated with the utmost respect. Fires can destroy acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Many countryside fires are often due to carelessness and although it is mostly commonsense, by following a few rules you will help protect and respect our wonderful environment.
- Never throw lighted cigarettes from car windows and extinguish all smoking material properly before disposing.
- If using barbecues, never leave unattended and use only in safe and dedicated areas
- Barbecues should be fully extinguished and cold before disposing of any coals or ashes
- Never light open fires in the countryside
- Never discard bottles or glass in the countryside, sunlight on glass can start a fire and destroy large areas – take them home or place in a proper recycling bin.
For more information, the Countryside Code gives advice on respecting the countryside at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code.
Bonfires and Fireworks
Bonfires and Fireworks are not now restricted to the 5th November and are often used during the summer months as a form of celebration and garden debris management. A few simple rules will keep you safe and leave you to enjoy your celebrations without dangerous mishaps.
- Don’t light fires on windy days as they can easily get out of control
- Keep bonfires clear of buildings, sheds, fences and hedges
- Never use flammable liquids to start the fire and never burn dangerous rubbish such as aerosol cans, batteries, paint tins of foam furniture.
- Keep a bucket of water or hosepipe handy in case of accidents
- Never leave a bonfire unattended and ensure children and animals are a safe distance away.
- Never give sparklers to children under 5, wear gloves and light only one sparkler at a time.
- Buy only patented fireworks marked BS7114.
- Keep all fireworks in a closed box.
- Follow carefully the instructions on each firework.
- Light all fireworks at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back.
- Never go back to a lit firework.
- Never place fireworks in your pocket.
- Never throw fireworks.
- Keep pets indoors.
Enjoy your summer, keep safe and be summer fire safety aware.