Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is issuing safety advice as the temperatures start to rise.
Now that the warm, light evenings are with us and the summer holidays are set to start, barbecue season is upon us in Merseyside.
But behind the bangers and burgers and rising temperatures, summer fun has a serious side. There is an increased risk of wildfires starting, potential for carbon monoxide poisoning from barbecues, dehydration affecting road users’ attention and dangers involving open water.
Group Manager Gary Oakford said: “There are a number of things that people can do in Merseyside to help keep themselves safe this summer.
“We urge people to make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before being safely disposed of. Similarly, if you are using a barbecue, make sure the coals have been left to cool and the fire is fully extinguished before safely disposing of them.
“People should also be aware of risks surrounding carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide can be a risk in homes and we advise people to have CO alarms and have their gas appliances checked by a Gas Safe Register engineer each year.
“Carbon monoxide, which you cannot taste, smell or see, can cause unconsciousness and death. It can be produced by barbecues (BBQ). For this reason, and to reduce the chance of fires starting while camping, we advise people never take a smouldering or lit charcoal or gas BBQ into a tent, caravan or cabin. Even if you have finished cooking, your BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use.
“During the summer and warm days, dehydration can also affect cyclists, drivers and other road users, affecting concentration. To help stay safe on the roads please stay hydrated with water.”
The Gas Safe Register has information on their website on Carbon Monoxide and using barbecues. The information can be found here:
Health information and advice on how people can keep cool during the hot weather has also been issued by Public Health England.
More information can be found at: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx
Group Manager Oakford added: “If you are looking to cool off with a swim during the hotter days of summer, people should be aware of cold water shock, as low temperature can numb limbs and claim lives. People should also be careful around open water as they do not know what hazards are below the surface and these may not be apparent or visible from land.
“Be aware of the currents and water conditions before going near water. Even competent swimmers may struggle in open waters and people are urged to never attempt to swim after consuming alcohol.”
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service supports the national Fire Kills campaign and has issued the below advice.
Barbecue Fire Safety Advice:
- Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue or any cooking.
- Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
- Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
- Never use a barbecue indoors.
- Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on coal.
- Never leave a barbecue or any cooking unattended.
- Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
- Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire.
Help Reduce The Chance of Wildfire
Follow these tips to reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside which can ruin habitats for wildlife and put people at risk:
- Extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground – take your litter home.
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (please take bottles or glass home and recycle them).
- Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.
Camping Fire Safety Advice:
- Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
- Before you set off, get the contact details of the local fire and rescue service.
- Set up tents at least six metres apart and away from parked cars.
- Make sure you know what the fire arrangements on the camp site are and where the nearest telephone is.
- Don’t smoke inside a tent.
- Place your cooking area well away from the tent.
- 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 can’t 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.
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