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Set up camp safely: the hazards of the great outdoors

The summer holidays are on their way and we’re likely to be spending a bit more time outdoors. So, whether you’re camping, cooking, or exploring, Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service has the advice to keep you safe.

Station Manager Steve Ratcliffe said: “As life goes back to ‘normal’ and the summer holidays approach we’re expecting most people to head into the wonderful Derbyshire countryside to relax and explore.

“However, like many changes in activity, it can bring risks. If you’re intending to take out your tent, ready your rucksack or get your caravan back on the road, you should go armed with some safety advice before heading for the great outdoors.”

By following our top tips, you can ensure that your great adventure is a safe and enjoyable one.

• Allow at least 6m spacing between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
• Don’t smoke inside tents.
• Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
• Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls and never cook inside a tent or near flammable materials or long grass; they can all set alight easily.
• Never take a BBQ into a tent. Even when you have finished cooking with it, it can still give off fumes that can give you carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
• Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there’s a fire.
• Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that’s on fire – stop, drop and roll.

• Fit and test a smoke alarm in your caravan.
• Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.
• Like tents, never take a BBQ into a caravan to avoid CO poisoning. Always leave it outside.
• Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.
• Make sure ashtrays are made of a material that can’t burn and position them securely so they can’t topple over and never smoke in bed.
• Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
• Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
• Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents, to avoid a build-up of carbon monoxide.

Wildfires spread rapidly
• Never throw cigarette ends out of a car window – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside.
• Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
• Never have a BBQ or campfire on the moors.

If a fire should breakout
• Leave the area as quickly as possible, call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service – you can use What3Words to provide your exact location.
• If necessary give a map reference.
• If this is not possible a landmark such as a farm or pub etc, to help us locate you.
• Do not be tempted to investigate.
• Do not return unless the fire and rescue service tells you that it is safe to do so.

Don’t forget you can inform us of any deliberate fire-setting anonymously through the FireStoppers website or calling on 0800 169 5558.  

In closing Station Manager Ratcliffe said: “It may all sound a bit daunting, but it needn’t be, most of this advice is common sense. From time to time we all need reminders; so, enjoy the countryside and be safe.”

For more information visit our Think Sprinkler campaign page, or follow us on social media @DerbyshireFRS.