Safety advice to prevent accidental fires this summer from Northamptonshire fire service

Barbecues can be a fire hazard if the appropriate safety measures are not taken. Photo: Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service
Barbecues can be a fire hazard if the appropriate safety measures are not taken. Photo: Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service

Anyone enjoying a barbecue or going on a camping holiday this summer should check out these warnings from the Northamptonshire fire service to keep safe.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding holiday-makers and people cooking outdoors about the steps to take to avoid disaster during the 'dry weather'.

District liaison officer Tina Collett said: “There is a lot to remember when taking a camping or caravanning break, what with torches, tents, groundsheets, stoves… the list goes on.

"The top of that list should be fire safety and we would ask people to please take care when enjoying their trips.

“There are plenty of steps you can take to make these holidays safer, for example taking care not to smoke or use candles in or near tents and also to make sure you know what the fire arrangements are if staying on a campsite.

"We have put together a list of safety tips, to help keep holidays happy and safe.”

The fire service's campaign aims to help highlight the fire risks posed in hot, dry conditions on grassland, including woodland, crops, domestic gardens and farmland.

Barbecues are also a popular part of the warm weather but can be a fire hazard if the appropriate measures are not taken, according to the fire service.

Tina said it is important also to remember just how long it can take for a barbecue to cool down properly as discarded embers can often cause accidental fires.

“This summer has been a real mix of hot sun and sudden downpours, but we know this is the season when people love to prepare outdoor feasts for their family and friends," she said.

“We would once again like to urge people to please take note of our safety advice which includes tips such as positioning your barbecue safely away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs and garden waste to prevent any unplanned fires from breaking out.

Fire safety tips for camping:

- Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer

- Do not smoke inside a tent

- Place cooking well away from your tent

- Set up tents at least six metres apart and away from parked cars

- Make sure you know what the fire arrangements on the campsite are and where the nearest telephone is

- Keep your cooking area clear of items that catch fire easily (flammable items), including long, dry grass

- Put cooking appliances in a place where they cannot easily be knocked over

- Keep matches, lighters, flammable liquids and gas cylinders out of the reach of children

- Have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire

Caravans:

- Having a working smoke alarm in a caravan is as important as having one at home

- Ensure caravans are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars

- Do not leave children alone inside a caravan

- If you smoke, use metal ashtrays and never smoke in bed

- Do not block air vets – if any leaking gas builds up, you may fall unconscious and be unable to escape

- Turn off all appliances before you leave the caravan or go to bed

- Never use a cooker or heater while your caravan is moving

- If there is a fire in your caravan, get everyone out straight away. Call the fire service and give your location with a map reference, if possible, or provide a nearby landmark like a farm

Barbecues:

- Only have barbecues in designated areas and avoid setting any open fires in the countryside

- Always stay with a barbecue and do not leave it unattended. Never use accelerants such as petrol or paraffin on or near barbecues or fires

- Whether at home or elsewhere, make sure barbecues are kept away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste

- Barbecues can remain hot for a very long time. Ensure they are cold and have been extinguished properly before disposal.

- Keeping a bucket of water handy, or having a garden hose nearby is a useful precaution

- Enjoy yourself, but do not drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue or any cooking

- Never use a barbecue indoors. There have been incidents, nationally, with people bringing barbecues into enclosed spaces, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning

- Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies

- Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues

- Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they are hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire