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Residents urged to stay safe outdoors as temperatures soar

With temperatures hitting highs of over 25°C in Cambridgeshire this week, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) would like to remind residents of important outdoor fire safety and water safety advice.

We tend to see an increase in calls to fires during spells of hot weather. This does result in our crews spending significant time at incidents that could be avoided, which is why we are urging residents across the county to follow our simple tips to help avoid unnecessary incidents occurring.

Head of Community Safety for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Group Commander Per Middleton said:

“We know people will be wanting to make the most of the warm weather while it’s here, and there are lots of things people can do so they can enjoy the sunshine safely, and help prevent incidents occurring.

“High temperatures and dry areas of land can be perfect conditions for a fire to spread rapidly. Something as simple as not stubbing a cigarette out properly, using a disposable barbecue on grass, or even leaving glass bottles exposed to bright sunlight can start a fire that can develop quickly.

“We ask that people avoid lighting bonfires and garden fires this time of year. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to nearby buildings, fences and vegetation, which can cause significant damage and put people at risk.

“We’d also ask parents to speak to their children about the dangers of starting fires, and the serious consequences they can have.”

There are simple steps we urge residents to take to help prevent an outdoor fire:

• Ensure cigarettes are completely out.
• Do not throw cigarettes out of car windows onto grass verges or vegetation
• Keep BBQs well away from buildings, fencing and shrubbery
• Put disposable BBQs on bricks, do not place directly on grass.
• Ensure any BBQs are completely cool before disposing of the ash
• Think twice before having a bonfire or garden fire.

It’s also really important that everyone takes extra care around open water.

Group Commander Middleton added: “Tragically, 10 people drowned in lakes, rivers and along the coastline across England over the weekend, highlighting just how dangerous open water can be.

“It can be so tempting to take a dip in open water while it’s hot, but we’re asking people to ‘Be Water Aware’, and resist the urge for the sake of cooling off. There can be hidden dangers beneath the surface that can have serious consequences.

“Open water, such as rivers, lakes, or the sea can often be deeper than expected with unanticipated hazards below the surface, and even if the weather is warm the water can still be icy cold.

“The water may look calm on the surface, but there may still be strong undercurrents, especially near locks, that could pull even the strongest swimmer under. There can also be rubbish, like shopping trolleys and rubble hidden beneath the murky water that you could become trapped in, so it’s really important people take extra care and look out for each other.”

“If you do find yourself falling into open water unexpectedly or ever find yourself in difficulty, try and stay calm and float on your back until your body becomes used to the temperature of the water. The initial effects of cold water pass in less than a minute so don’t try to swim straight away. Relax and float on your back to catch your breath. Try to get hold of something that will help you float, keep calm and then call for help or swim for safety if you’re able to.

Per added: “We want people to enjoy the weather, but please do it safely and sensibly.”

To help be prepared in the event of an emergency, download the free what3words app so that emergency services can help pin point your location quicker in hard to find areas.