Fire safety top tips for a safe summer

Published
29.05.2020

With the dry weather predicted to last across the county, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is asking everyone to follow some simple steps to make sure they have a fun filled, fire free summer.

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Due to the ongoing dry conditions, the risk of wildfires across the county has increased, with GFRS having already being called to a number of fires in open areas.

Everyone can play a part in helping the county stay safe by taking a few simple measures. When enjoying public spaces or the countryside litter should be disposed of properly. Glass and reflective material can start fires if left lying around and cigarettes must be discarded safely.

Wildfires can escalate quickly and are a serious danger to life, properties, the environment and wildlife, causing wide spread damage. Anyone who spots a fire in the open should leave the areas and call 999 immediately.

BBQs are an important part of summer but during dry conditions GFRS is asking people to take extra care when using theirs, and to not use them at all in wooded or dry grass areas, where fires can spread quickly.

These simple steps will help people BBQ safely:

  • never leave a barbeque unattended
  • keep them away from buildings, sheds, fences, hedges and trees
  • never barbeque on balconies
  • have a bucket of water nearby
  • make sure your barbeque is completely out when finished
  • never put ashes or disposable barbeques straight into the bin

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has also seen an increase in the number of garden fires getting out of control. Often, these bonfires have spread to trees, hedges, fences, sheds and properties. Attending these fires means that our firefighters are unavailable to attend more serious incidents.

People should try and avoid having bonfires during this current period of dry weather to minimise the avoidable calls GFRS has to attend, instead appropriately storing your waste until you are able to dispose of it safely. Garden refuge collections have resumed and household recycling centres (HRCs) have re-opened for pre-booked visits only. Further information is available at www.gloucestershirerecycles.com

If you have to have a bonfire please be considerate to your neighbours and ensure the smoke does not drift across roads and become a danger to traffic.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We want people to enjoy their summer in Gloucestershire, especially as Covid-19 restrictions are slowly being lifted. However, it is important to stay safe and help prevent fires or stop them from getting out of control.

“We certainly do not want Gloucestershire to experience the devastation that wildfires have caused in other parts of the country so please avoid burning garden waste and be extra careful when enjoying time in the countryside. Simple steps such as using BBQs safely, putting rubbish in a bin and making sure cigarettes are put out will really help to prevent avoidable fires.”

Adam Openshaw, Head of Community Safety for GFRS, said: “However careful people are, bonfires can easily get out of control, especially during this warm spell of weather. We do not want Gloucestershire to experience the devastation that wildfires have caused in other parts of the country so we are asking the public to avoid burning garden waste and to be extra careful when enjoying time in the countryside. Small precautions such as using BBQs safely and the correct disposal of cigarettes can help prevent large fires.”

A spokesperson for Forestry England, said: “Our woodlands and forests are at risk, the continuous warm weather has significantly raised the wildfire threat, just one spark can cause a fire. We are asking people to not use BBQ’s or light fires in our woodlands and to ensure cigarettes are safely extinguished and disposed of responsibly.

“Our colleagues in Wareham Forest, Dorset recently suffered a devastating fire, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service found the remains of 11 disposable barbecues in the area. The fire was burning for almost two weeks and destroyed 220 hectares of forest. That’s the equivalent of 310 football pitches, all destroyed in a matter of days by carelessness and taking decades to recover.”

For more safety advice, please visit www.glosfire.gov.uk

 

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