Summer Safety Tips
As the County basks in a heatwave Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to stay safe in the sunshine with our outdoor safety advice.
During summer the Service sees an increase in the number of outdoor fires as people head out for a barbeque in their gardens, to enjoy the countryside or to take a camping or caravanning trip.
But by taking a few simple precautions we can all enjoy a safe and happy summer.
Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “As we head out to enjoy the weather outdoors then we have to make sure that we all pay a little bit of extra attention to make sure that we stay safe from the risks posed by fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.”
When having Barbeques ensure that you:
• Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbeques. Never use a barbeque indoors.
• Never leave a barbeque unattended.
• Make sure your barbeque is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
• Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbeque, but not more (normally around 5cms or 2 inches).
• Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
• After cooking, make sure the barbeque is cool before moving it.
• Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
• Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbeque.
• Store gas cylinders outside, away from direct sunlight and frost.
• Take care when turning bottled gas barbeques on and off.
• Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
• After cooking, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbeque control. This will stop any gas from leaking.
• If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas cylinder and try brushing soapy water around all joints, watching for bubbles.
• Make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
• Change gas cylinders outdoors or in a well ventilated area.
Camping and Caravan:
• Fit and regularly test a smoke alarm in your caravan.
• To avoid a build up of poisonous gases make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents.
• Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
• Don’t smoke inside tents.
• Never bring a barbeque inside a tent or caravan. They create deadly carbon monoxide gas which will soon fill an enclosed space suffocating all sleeping inside.
• Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe, designated areas.
• Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.
• Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
• Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as soon as possible.
• Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they could start a fire and endanger lives.