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Safety Advice Issued As Heatwave Continues Into School Holidays

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) is appealing to members of the public to take extra care as the prolonged period of hot, dry weather continues and the Service witnesses an increase in calls to fires in the open. Throughout the months of June and July, DFRS have mobilised to 427 fires in the open, compared to the average number of fires in the open attended in the same period in June and July 2017 which was 178.

Area Manager, Bob Curry said, “We’re asking members of the public to be vigilant and to help us by taking steps to minimise the number of grass fires we are attending.  The ground and vegetation is still tinder dry and anything that can cause a spark can soon escalate to a fire on a large scale.

“Discarded cigarettes, outdoor barbeques and discarded glass bottles can all pose a serious threat when conditions are so dry.  I’d also like to appeal to people to delay having any garden fires at the present time, as they too have the potential to spread rapidly, as tinder dry grass and overhanging trees can soon cause the fire to spread to fences, sheds and even homes.”

Mr Curry went onto to issue a further warning about the dangers of swimming and jumping into open water: “We’ve been issuing warnings about the dangers of swimming and jumping into open water such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, something that may seem enticing during the hot weather, but can have a catastrophic consequence. Sadly, earlier this summer we have seen the evidence of this as a 25 year old male lost his life after swimming in the River Derwent.” 

Have a safe summer, follow our top tips:

Garden Fire/Controlled Burns

  • AVOID having a garden fire during the current dry spell.
  • Fires can spread rapidly over tinder dry grass, to overhanging trees and shrubs and spread to fencing, shed and even the home. 

Barbeque Safety

  • Keep the barbeque away from overhanging trees/shrubs and away from sheds, garages, the home and any pet enclosures.
  • Never use petrol or accelerants to light the barbeque.
  • If using a disposable barbeque, place it on a hard, fire proof surface – never on dry grass.
  • Place hot coals onto bare earth to cool down and never put them into a wheelie bin, or other bin that could catch fire. Consider the safe disposal of one-use barbeques.
  • Keep a bucket of water, or hose pipe on hand in case of an emergency.

Fire Safety in the Open

Derbyshire has some beautiful countryside which supports a thriving ecosystem of plants and animals. In order to protect this from the devastation of fire, we ask that people are mindful of the following advice:

  • Don’t throw/discard cigarettes out of car windows. Dispose of them properly.
  • Don’t leave glass bottles lying around – the sun can magnify through the glass causing a fire.
  • If having a BBQ in the open, make sure you place it on bare earth, away from dry grass, and never leave the BBQ until it is completely out.

Water Safety

Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Learn to spot and keep away from dangers. You may swim well in a warm indoor pool, but that does not mean that you will be able to swim in cold water. The dangers of water include:

  • Very cold temperatures
  • Hidden Currents
  • Fast flowing water, beware of locks and weirs
  • Deep water, it can be difficult to estimate the depth
  • There may be hidden rubbish or debris under the surface that can trap, snag or cut
  • It can be difficult to get out, banks can be steep, slimy and crumble away
  • No lifeguards, most outdoors waterways do not have lifeguards
  • Water pollution may make you ill

DFRS have recently produced a video titled ‘Shock’, which highlights the dangers of suffering cold water shock in open water. You can watch the video here: Shock

Derelict Buildings

There are many dangers associated with entering derelict buildings and these can become more of a risk as school children break up for the summer holidays and start to explore with their mates, looking for ‘exciting’ things to do that they can share on the latest social media channel.

In September 2017 Adam Johnson died after falling through the floor of a disused building in Derby. This fatal incident came just six months after a 19 year old man fell through the roof of a building in Ambergate, Derbyshire. 

DFRS have also recently produced a video titled ‘Derelict’. This film aims to underline the dangers of entering derelict and disused buildings, raising awareness to young children who may see the buildings as a place to explore, and not a place of danger. You can watch the video here: Derelict

In the case of an emergency, call 999 immediately.

For more information about keeping safe outdoors, visit

To stay up to date with everything the Service is up to and for up to date safety tips, follow us on social media:

Twitter: @DerbyshireFRS

Facebook: @DerbyshireFRS

Instagram: @derbyshirefrs

DFRS Area Manager Bob Curry’s Twitter: @bob_rcurry