Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Stay Safe Essex this summer

Summer is a busy period for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. As the temperatures are set to rise across our county over the next few days, the Service is giving its best advice to help prevent incidents and help people stay safe this summer. 

The Service usually sees a rise in wildfires in the summer and fires that spread quicker in the dry weather. 

To help prevent a rise in incidents, the Service has teamed up with independent charity FireStoppers to give people a confidential way of reporting information to prevent deliberate fires from happening.

Will Newman, Head of Prevention at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “During the summer period, we often see a rise in the number of accidental and deliberate fires across Essex. These include bonfires, BBQ fires, refuse and wheelie bin fires, fires in stairwells or derelict buildings, as well as grass and countryside fires made worse by hot and dry conditions.

"Warmer weather and the increased numbers of people visiting our parks, countryside and seaside creates a greater risk of fire and accidents. By following our safety advice below and on our website, we can all play our part in preventing fires and other incidents this summer.

“Because we typically see an increase in deliberate fires during summer months, we’re urging Essex residents to use FireStoppers to report information that they think could prevent a fire from occurring. 

Managed by CrimeStoppers, FireStoppers is an anonymous way for people to report what they know about deliberate fire setting in their area. It’s not for reporting any blame, it’s for us to prevent the fires from happening.”

People can call FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558 or report online.

Will added: “We also have one of the longest coastlines in the country, so water safety is a vital part of our work. With the current warm weather we are experiencing it’s an ideal opportunity for people to get out and about and enjoy everything our great county has to offer but we want to them to do so safely.”

The warm weather also sees many motorcyclists take to the road.

Motorcyclists account for just one per cent of the traffic on Essex roads, but are involved in around 20 per cent of Killed and Seriously Injured collisions. Making motorcyclists ones of the most vulnerable road users.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service recommends following the ‘POWDERS’ guide to check bikes over:

P - Petrol - Make sure the petrol is fresh and that you have enough petrol for your journey. Fill up if necessary.

O - Oil - Engine oil should be checked either at the oil window or with the dip stick. The level of brake and clutch fluid reservoirs should be checked and on two stroke machines don’t forget the two stroke tank.

Never rely purely on the warning light - you don’t want a seized engine.

W - Water - Check your coolant level when the bike is cold and top up with the correct mix if needed. Check coolant hoses for leaks. Make sure your radiator is free from damage.

D - Damage and Drive - This relates to any danger that may be present due to general damage on the bike and the condition of drive chains, sprockets, shafts, etc. Chain adjustment should be checked and be adjusted if required to your handbook specification and sprocket teeth should not show signs of hooking.

An over-tight chain will cause damage to your final drive bearing which will be a costly job and a loose chain will cause excessive wear and increase the danger of the chain coming off.

E - Electrics - Check that the headlight, tail/brake light, indicators and horn are functioning correctly. Check that the engine stop switch and stand ignition cut off (if applicable) are working. With the engine running turn the handlebars from lock to lock to ensure the throttle cable is not snagged.

R - Rubber - Physically check your bike’s tyre pressures and make sure the tyres are at the recommended pressures. Also check the condition of tyres - not just the tread as the side walls are just as important and also examine the tyre wear indicators.

Make sure there are not foreign objects embedded in the tyres. Replace the tyres is they are damaged or show excessive wear.

Tyre condition has a major effect on machine handling and safety.

S - Stopping and Suspension - Check that the front and rear brake systems are working properly. A moving brake test should be carried out at low speed. Check there are no brake fluid leaks. Suspension (check the bike's handbook) should be checked to ensure that it is suitably set for the journey e.g. lone rider, with pillion, or with luggage.

Check for leaks from the suspension. Make sure the suspension, front and rear operates smoothly without any jerkiness or restriction.

For more road safety advice, visit Safer Essex Roads.


Barbeques 

Every year the fire service is called to a number of fires that are started by using a barbeque. Barbeques can be dangerous if not handled responsibly, so it's important to keep safety in mind, especially when kids and pets are around.    

  • Never leave a barbeque unattended 
  • Set the barbeque well away from sheds, fences, houses, trees and plants  
  • Always supervise children and pets near the barbeque   
  • Drink responsibly if you’re in charge of the cooking  
  • If you’re using a disposable barbeque, always place it on an even surface on either bricks or paving slabs and well away from the house, shed or fences 
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbeques. Never use a barbecue indoors  
  • If you're using a disposable barbeque ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin. To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it's out 

For more barbeque safety advice, visit our BBQ safety webpage.


Bonfires 

  • Site the bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs
  • Never leave the bonfire burning unattended
  • NEVER use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire 
  • Pour water on the embers before leaving 


For more bonfire safety advice, visit our bonfire safety page

 


Camping 

  • Allow at least 6m spacing between tents and caravans 
  • Never use fuel-burning devices (e.g. disposable barbecues, camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills) inside a tent 
  • Never use candles in or near a tent - torches are much safer 
  • Cook outside and away from the tent 
  • Don't smoke inside the tent and keep any flammable material away from the cooking area 
  • Have an escape plan  

For more camping safety advice, visit our camping advice page. 


Caravans 

When staying in a caravan, a working smoke alarm is just as important as having one in your home.  

If a fire breaks out in a caravan or mobile home it is always serious, so always get everyone away from the caravan at a safe distance and call 999 immediately. 

  • If you smoke, use metal ashtrays - and never smoke in bed or if you are likely to fall asleep 
  • Turn off all appliances before you leave the caravan or go to bed 
  • Don't block air vents - if any leaking gas builds up you may fall unconscious and be unable to escape. Always keep the caravan ventilated. Ensure that air vents are clear - if air vents get blocked, it could be fatal 

For caravan safety advice, visit our caravan safety advice page. 

 


Water safety

Most people don't think of the fire service when it comes to water rescues, but it's an important part of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s work, especially as we have one of the longest coastlines of any county in England, along with rivers and waterside locations that people enjoy all year round.

The Service has specialist water rescue crews ready to respond to emergencies across Essex 24/7.

If you’re going to be enjoying the water this summer, always follow the Water Safety Code. Whenever you are around water: 


STOP and THINK - Look for the dangers, always read the signs 

STAY TOGETHER - Never swim alone - always go with friends or family 

In an emergency: 

CALL 999 - Shout for help and phone 999 

FLOAT - If you fall in, float or swim on your back. Throw something that floats to anyone who has fallen in 

For more water safety advice visit our water safety webpage.


Switch off before you set off

If you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time this summer for a holiday, remember to “Switch off, before you set off.”

Electrical appliance and devices like televisions and computers are more likely to cause a fire if they are accidentally left switched on for long periods of time, for example when people go on holiday for a week or two. 

So if you’re about to set off for a much needed relaxing holiday, switch off your electrical appliances and take a moment to consider our fire safety advice before you set off.


Staying Healthy

Everyone loves balmy long evenings and warm summer days, but hot weather and the sun can also pose a risk to health to some people, particularly vulnerable individuals. 

There are a number of precautions you can take to ensure you stay healthy during the hot weather, such as making sure you are well hydrated and avoid the very hot mid-day sun. It is also important to look out for vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, to make sure they are fit and well. 

For more hints and tips, visit the Livewell website.

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