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Armed Forces Covenant

Stay Safe This Summer

08/Jun/2017

With summer now upon us, people will once again be heading outside to explore the great outdoors, or maybe just into the garden for a barbecue!  However, behind the warmer weather, long evenings and barbeques, summer fun has a serious side, therefore Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS), as part of the Fire Kills campaign, would like to remind everyone to take extra care when out in the great outdoors this summer.

Water safety – Open water may seem enticing, but it can be extremely dangerous.  Swimming outdoors is completely different to a warm swimming pool, the water is much colder in reservoirs and quarries, so much so that it can force your body to go into shock, causing muscle cramps and breathing difficulties.  Other dangers include: 

  • Hidden currents.
  • Fast flowing water, beware of locks and weirs.
  • Deep water.
  • Hidden dangers, such as rubbish and debris, this can trap, snag or cut.
  • No lifeguards, most outdoor waterways do not have lifeguards.

DFRS would also like to warn people of the dangers associated with tombstoning into open water following recent sightings of groups of young people at a quarry in Derbyshire.

It may seem tempting to jump into reservoirs and quarries, but this dangerous and life threatening activity can have serious consequences.  When you consider rocks and other debris may be hidden under the surface of the water, jumping into them head or feet first can result in serious injury or death.  A 15 year old boy tragically drowned whilst swimming in a disused quarry near Ashover in 2009.  

Outdoor cooking – Barbeques are perfect for those long summer days spent with family and friends, but they can also pose a number of potential fire risks.  When cooking outdoors keep in mind the following advice:

  • Always follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Never use petrol or accelerants to light/reignite your barbeque.
  • Keep a bucket of water, or hose pipe on hand for any emergencies.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from the house, sheds, fences, trees, shrubs and garden waste.
  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the barbeque.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue 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.
  • If you are in charge of the barbecue, make sure you don’t drink too much whilst operating it.
  • When in the countryside or public parks, only use barbecues where there are specially designated areas.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or in a tent.

For lots of people, camping out in the countryside is the perfect getaway when it comes to the summer holidays, but even when you’re away from home, fire safety should still be at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

If you’re staying in a caravan:

  • Make sure you fit and test a smoke alarm.
  • Make sure the caravan is ventilated and never block air vents to avoid a build-up of poisonous gases.
  • Simple measures such as keeping a torch handy for emergencies instead of using lighted candles and not drying clothes over the stove can help you stay safe in your caravan.

If you’re staying in a tent:

  • Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out if there is a fire.
  • Never smoke or cook inside or near a tent as this could easily cause a fire.
  • Ensure that caravansand tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars, to reduce the risk of a fire spreading.

Never take a barbeque into a caravan or tent as they produce harmful carbon monoxide gas, which is potentially lethal.

  • Avoid open fires in the countryside, only have them in safe, designated areas.
  • Ensure cigarettes and other smoking materials are fully put out.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands, sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.
  • Take all rubbish home, or put it in a waste or recycling bin.

Head of Prevention and Inclusion, Davinder Johal said: “When the sun finally makes an appearance, people understandably can’t wait to go outside and enjoy the warmer weather with family and friends, but we want people to stay safe.

“I’d encourage everyone to follow our simple outdoor safety tips, however if disaster does strike, keep calm, get everyone to safety as quickly as possible, and call 999.”

For more information on keeping safe outdoors, visit: http://www.derbys-fire.gov.uk/keeping-safe/keeping-safe-outdoors/.

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