Remember fire safety during the hot weather

09 July 2010

Firefighters using beaters to tackle a field fire

FORECASTERS are predicting the hottest weekend of the year so far with temperatures expected to top 30 degrees in Cambridgeshire. The heatwave has prompted the first weather health alert of the year, but there are other ways the hot weather could be dangerous to Cambridgeshire residents.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind residents that the warmer weather brings with it a greater risk of fire, and can speed up the spread of fire.

Rick Hylton, Assistant Director of Community Safety for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Everyone knows to be careful with sun cream and sensible clothing during the hottest days of the year, but don't forget about the fire risks this weather poses.

"When you're thinking about staying safe in the sun, think about staying safe from fire as well. Barbeques and bonfires are obvious risks but in prolonged spells of dry weather, things like dropping a cigarette butt, or throwing it out of a car window, can cause a huge grassland or crop fire. Glass is also another risk, so dispose of glass bottles carefully when outdoors.

"These extra precautions only take a few minutes, but they could save your home, or even the lives of you and your loved ones from fire."

Many residents will be enjoying the warmer evenings this weekend with barbecues and bonfires. This increases the risk of fires in back gardens, which can very quickly develop into something more serious. Don't put your home in danger - follow the steps below to enjoy the hottest weekend of the year safely.

Barbecues:

  • Ensure that your barbecue is placed on level ground where it will not tip over, and is sited away from sheds, fences, overhanging foliage and the house.
  • Keep children well away from a barbecue and never leave it unattended.
  • When cooking is finished, ensure the barbecue is quite cool before attempting to move it.
  • Use a proprietary firelighter or starter fuel, NEVER petrol, and use the minimum necessary to start the fire.
  • Empty the spent ash onto bare garden soil. Don't put it in the dustbin.
  • If you are using a gas barbecue, always follow the manufactures instructions.

Out and about:

  • Don't leave camp-fires, barbecues or bonfires unattended and extinguish them properly after use.
  • Clear away bottles, glasses and broken glass to avoid them magnifying the sun's rays and starting a fire.
  • Parents should explain to their children the dangers of playing with, and the lighting of, fires.
  • If a fire breaks out, call the fire service immediately. It can be hard to give a location for an open area, so mention any landmarks, perhaps a church or pub or the nearest road name.
  • Don't attempt to fight the fire yourself unless it is very small. Grass and crop fires can travel at tremendous speed and change direction quickly and without warning and could cut you off.

Further information on staying safe from fire during the summer can be found on the seasonal safety pages of our website.