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Stay fire safe as bank holiday approaches

As the warm weather looks set to continue for the coming days, leading up to the bank holiday weekend, residents are being urged to stay fire safe while enjoying the sunshine.

Many people may be looking to dust off the BBQ, as opportunities have been limited so far this summer, along with lighting bonfires or firepits. As much as these can be enjoyable, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to ensure residents are aware of the risks and keep themselves and their families safe.

Station Commander Gareth Boyd, Community Risk Manager for the Service, said: “We know people will be wanting to make the most of the warm weather, and we really want to encourage people to do this safely. Having a BBQ is a great way to get together with family and friends, but they can easily lead to a fire if people don’t follow some basic safety tips. Things like keeping the area supervised and lighting the BBQ away from fencing, buildings and garden furniture, keeping a bucket of water close by, and only disposing of the charcoal once it’s cooled.

“Ideally, we would advise residents to avoid lighting bonfires and garden fires. 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 would always recommend using the local waste collection service or visiting local waste centres.”

In recent months, crews have been responding to incidents involving bonfires where flammable liquids, such as lighter fluid, white spirit or petrol, have been used, causing significant damage and injury.

Station Commander Boyd added: “We urge residents, if they are planning to have some kind of bonfire, to never, under any circumstances, add any accelerant like a flammable liquid. This can easily get a fire out of control and spread rapidly to the rest of the garden and the property. We have seen recent examples of people being seriously injured as a result of adding flammable liquid to a fire, which highlights how dangerous it is.

“As we head into what will hopefully be a sunny and warm bank holiday weekend, we hope people will take a few precautions and follow our simple tips to avoid having a significant, and potentially life-threatening, fire.”

Another way to help keep your home fire safe is to use our online home safety check, which allows you to carry out your own fire risk assessment. More information is available in our Home Safety section.