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Celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and #StaySafeEssex

We know lots of people and organisations are organising events next week to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. All of us at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service want everyone to stay safe whilst having a good time.

Please see below for our latest safety tips on staying safe and lighting beacons safely.

Karl Amoss, Station Manager Operational and Community Risk, said: “This is a time for celebration, and we all want to enjoy ourselves and have a good time but please do so safely. Some groups and organisations may be organising street parties, having BBQs, fireworks and lighting beacons and we don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun, but our firefighters don’t want to have to come and gate crash anyone’s celebrations either. Follow our safety advice and make sure the Jubilee weekend is one to remember for the right reasons.”


Jubilee beacon events 

On 2 June 2022, beacons will be lit by communities across the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Please read the following advice to ensure that you stay safe whilst enjoying the celebrations.

Please let us know if you plan to light a beacon.

Call our non-emergency number 01376 576000 and tell us the accurate location (we recommend using the What3words app).

Our Control team will log the Jubilee beacons as ‘controlled burns’ and this will help us to avoid sending fire engines to false alarms when they could be responding to a real emergency.

How to have a safe Jubilee beacon

Preparing the beacon

  • Set up the beacon well away from anything that could catch fire, taking into account wind direction.
  • Make sure that the smoke plume will not affect residential areas, roads, and access points (again, taking into account the wind direction).
  • When lighting a controlled burn (such as a Jubilee beacon bonfire), it is illegal to leave a fire unattended or to have too few people to control it.

Lighting and managing the beacon

  • Never use accelerants (such as lighter fluid, petrol, white spirit, methylated spirits and paraffin) to light a bonfire.
  • Light the fire using tapers on long poles (at least 2m).
  • Keep a source of water nearby in case the fire needs extinguishing. 

Public safety near the beacon

  • Make sure that you have a well-constructed cordon between the fire and the people (distance will depend on size of bonfire).
  • Have first aid facilities available, including a burns pack or quick access to lots of clean water.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of highly visible marshals who have received some instruction to help control the crowd.

When the beacon is finished

  • Use water to put out the fire at the end.
  • Always ensure that a fire is completely out before you leave it and check the next day to ensure that it has not reignited.

There are 4 types of beacon: 

Gas bottled 

  • Ensure gas bottles are situated as far from the beacon as possible but to also ensure gas piping isn’t too tight
  • Beacons should be suitably anchored to the ground to ensure they do not fall over.

Brazier

  • A safe cordoned area should be in place to make sure debris and embers do not affect the public.
  • Cordoned area should be well saturated or dug over to stop fire spread especially due to the dry period.

Bonfire

  • Bonfires need to be situated well away from building and other structures.
  • Build them in the shape of a pyramid.
  • Consider the wind direction to consider where embers may travel to.

Bishop’s Frome Strawman

  • These should be built well away from buildings and other structures.
  • Ensure good and safe construction using banding to help in holding together
  • The cordon area should be a minimum of one and a half the distance against the height of the structure. For example – if the height is 2 metres the cordon area should be 3 metres around the structure.

Organising a street party

  • On the day, remember to leave space for a fire engine or ambulance which may need to come down your street at any time.
  • An important part of planning a street party is to ensure that emergency services are aware of any road closures.
  • To close roads, residents will need permission from the council traffic/highways departments.
  • Councils will consult with emergency services as part of the process.

Celebrations at non-domestic premises

  • If you plan to have a celebration for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at non-domestic premises, you need to consider the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
  • This legislation places a duty on you to carry out an appropriate fire risk assessment and act upon the findings.
  • Read about licensing requirements here:

Alcohol and fire do not mix

If people have been drinking, please ensure that they are not involved in the use of fireworks, BBQs or bonfires. Encourage people to plan their journey home, and do not be tempted to drink-drive.

Safety tips for fireworks

If you are planning on having a fireworks display, always follow our advice.

  • Where possible only attend a formally organised display
  • Only buy fireworks with a CE mark.
  • Store fireworks in a closed box.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework.
  • Light them at arm's length, using a taper.
  • Stand well back.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks.
  • Keep pets indoors.

Sky (Chinese) Lanterns

We do not recommend using sky lanterns due to the fire hazards and risks they pose to property, crops, animals and the environment. They are very dangerous and can start wildfires, and are a risk to animals. Please do not use them.

Barbecues

BBQs are best used:

  • In your garden and away from your home
  • A safe distance away from anything that could catch fire (e.g. sheds, trees, bushes, compost bins etc)
  • Placed on a flat surface that won't catch alight such as stone or paving slabs

Avoid these places for BBQs

  • It’s not safe to have a BBQ on your balcony. These spaces are often enclosed, meaning fire could easily spread to your home or houses around you.
  • We do not recommend using BBQs at the beach or in the countryside. There are some restrictions on where you can use BBQs, so please check local signage before using them.

Read more tips about having a BBQ Safely here.

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