Posted: Tuesday 9 August 2022, 16:09
With a ten year high in incidents recorded during the July heatwave, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is renewing its call to members of the public to take extra care and help us prevent fires and other emergencies during another period of high temperatures and dry conditions.
Reflecting on the significant impact of the July heatwave, the Service is preparing to mitigate the effects of continued dry weather and increased risk presented by high temperatures, by asking members of the public to follow our heatwave advice:
Consider your 999 call
During the July heatwave 999 emergency calls to the Joint Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire control room exceeded the daily average by 1056% on Tuesday 19th July when 1,260 emergency 999 calls were received.
- Members of the public can help us by only calling 999 in an emergency, in addition to helping to prevent fires and other emergencies.
Portable barbeques, campfires, moorland fires and fires in the open
On the 19 July firefighters responded to a fire at Win Hill in Bamford where a portable barbeque and portable gas stove were found. This fire took a total of 34 fire engines and firefighters over six days to extinguish. Fires such as this tie up emergency service resources which could potentially cause a delay to other life risk emergencies.
- The Service is therefore calling on members of the public to do the right thing and resist the urge to take a portable barbeque or portable gas stove onto moorlands or countryside and pack a picnic instead.
Portable barbeques are banned in many areas of the Peak District.
Report deliberate fire setting
Members of the public can help us by reporting any information they may have about deliberate fire setting, which includes the use of portable barbeques and campfires in open spaces.
- Call FireStoppers anonymously on 0800 169 5558 or report online at firestoppersreport.co.uk
Our advice is simple – do not have a garden fire at home!
With tinder dry conditions there is a high likelihood of the fire getting out of control and spreading to your home. Visit your local authority website for information about disposing of garden or household waste.
Barbeques at home
If you’re planning a barbeque at home, please take extra fire safety precautions. Your garden will be tinder dry, and the slightest stray spark could cause a fire to spread to your home.
- Ensure your barbeque is situated away from your home, fences, sheds, garage, and any overhanding trees or shrubs.
- Keep a connected hose pipe or bucket of water on hand for emergencies.
- Let hot coals cool on bare soil before throwing them away. Never put them into a wheelie bin!
- Don’t leave the barbeque unattended! Be extra vigilant during such extreme dry weather.
Water Safety/Drowning Prevention
We know when the temperature rises the temptation to cool down in open water increases, couple this with school children enjoying their summer break and we want to ensure everyone stays safe around water.
- Parents/guardians – ensure your children know the dangers of open water and know not to enter it no matter how much peer pressure they may be under.
- Everyone should know how to float to live – lay on your back with your arms and legs out like a star, resist the urge to thrash about and float. Calm your breathing and shout for help!
- Never enter the water to save someone in difficulty. Ring 999 and call for help!
Open Water Swimmers
With water levels exceptionally low, hidden machinery, submerged buildings and other objects that normally lie deep beneath open water present a significant risk to open water swimmers.
If you are an open water swimmer, choose to swim at designated open water sites where lifeguards and safety measures are in place.
Ensure emergency services can find you in any emergency.
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Impact of last heatwave on Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service
- The number of fires in Derbyshire during the July heatwave were consistently high. One the 19th July the Service recorded the highest daily total since current incident records began in 2009.
- The five days between 16th and 20th July were five of the busiest days for calls recorded since the joint Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Control formed in July 2019.
- On the 19th July 999 call volume reached capacity, therefore calls were transferred to Derbyshire’s established buddy fire and rescue service, Tyne and Wear.
- The number of fires on the 19th July (33) is the joint highest daily total since current incident records began in 2009 and the joint top daily total over the past decade.
- The average daily total of fires for July between 2019 and 2021 was 9.
Derbyshire's Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Gavin Tomlinson said: "One thing the heatwave highlighted is the need to address the use of portable barbeques as a matter of priority.
"Spending an average of £3 to experience a burger in the great outdoors may seem attractive, but that £3 pales into insignificance when compared to the cost of such fires and their impact on the environment and natural habitats. It is estimated that the fire at Win Hill may have cost our Service in the region of £250,000. In addition to the cost and impact, they also tie up our resources for days on end - this could potentially lead to a delay in our response to other life risk emergencies. I'm therefore calling on support from everyone right across Derbyshire, and those considering travelling into the county, to leave the portable barbeque and portable gas stove at home and pack a picnic instead.
Going on to talk about the issue of portable barbeques, CFO Tomlinson said:
"While the use of portable barbeques is a national issue, I am calling for action in Derbyshire and have written to all our local MP's asking for their support as we cannot continue to witness the impact of such reckless use of portable barbeques when they pose such a significant fire risk.
"Only last week we hosted the Fire Minister, Sarah Dines at the scene of a moorland fire at Win Hill to show her the impact of fires caused by portable barbeques and speak to her about the work we are doing with partners and landowners to prevent similar fires in the future.
"We already have public space protection orders in place banning their use in parts of the peak district, in addition to Fire Stoppers an anonymous reporting line that allows people to report deliberate fire setting behaviour - this includes the use of portable barbeques. However, we are looking at what other measures we can put in place to prevent people using them and discourage their use."