Fire Service has exceptionally busy week during heatwave
While the heatwave brought record temperatures for the UK, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service had an exceptionally busy week with almost triple its usual calls and incidents for this time of year.
From Saturday 16 July to Thursday 21 July, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service attended 629 incidents. This included 354 fires.
On Monday and Tuesday, two of the hottest days the UK has ever seen, the Service’s Control Room received 750 calls and crews attended 350 incidents.
At one point on Tuesday, the Service attended 26 concurrent incidents with 34 crews tackling fires across the county.
While facing high demand in Essex, the Service was also called to assist colleagues in London Fire Brigade. Essex sent 10 fire engines, a water bowser and an off-road vehicle to London while colleagues faced one of their busiest days on record.
Rick Hylton, Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I am immensely proud of the extraordinary efforts and dedication displayed by our Service this week, in not only protecting Essex but supporting neighbouring counties.
“Weeks like this remind me what a fantastic profession we work in. Colleagues from across the Service have been pulling together to keep the public safe. My appreciation is with them all, their families and their on-call employers for releasing their staff to crew fire engines.
“I’d like to thank the public, we’ve been so grateful for your support and generosity this week. Whether it’s been sharing your thanks online or in person or bringing cold refreshments to our crews on scene, your support is always gratefully received. You are the reason we’re in our roles, keeping you safe is at the heart of what we do.
“We’ll need your continued support throughout the weekend as temperatures rise again. Please be extra cautious during the hot and dry weather to help us prevent incidents across Essex.”
Please follow the Service’s safety advice to help prevent incidents:
- The most common causes of grass fires are cigarettes, bonfires, barbecues and discarded glass bottles
- Cigarettes dropped on dry grass that have not been properly extinguished or cigarettes thrown from car windows can start a fire. Many roads are banked by or near to grassland, and these can be easily set on fire by a cigarette in dry weather
- The Service recommends holding off on having bonfires until there has been more rain. It only takes an ember from a bonfire to catch in the slightest breeze and set fire to dry vegetations, sheds, fences, trees etc.
- Barbecues can cause fires when smouldering ash and embers are carried by the wind onto areas of dry grass. Disposable barbecues that have been discarded and abandoned can also cause fires as they will continue to retain heat after use – they should be cooled before being properly disposed of
- Glass left in parks or on embankments can start fires too. Glass can magnify the sun and start a fire
- If you see dry grass smouldering, please call 999 and report it immediately to prevent the fire from spreading!
- Don’t jump into open water – if you don’t know how deep it is or what’s in it, it’s not worth the risk. If you get into trouble – remember to float to live and try to alert others
You can read about some of the incidents Essex County Fire and Rescue Service attended here: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/incidents
Could you be an on-call firefighter?
Did you know that more than two thirds of fire stations in Essex are crewed by on-call firefighters.
On-call firefighters are people who live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station and respond to incidents in their area when they are paged. They have day jobs and busy lives outside of the fire service and are paid to help keep their communities safe.
If you live or work within 5 minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be an on-call firefighter.
Find out more about the role and how to apply at join.essex-fire.gov.uk/on-call
Page updated Friday 22 July 2022