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Stay safe in the heat

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for extreme heat, lasting from midnight on Thursday, 11 August until 11:59pm on Sunday, 14 August.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) would like to remind residents how to keep themselves safe during heatwaves.

High temperatures and dry conditions carry risks to our communities. Therefore, the Service has produced the following safety tips and guidance on how to minimize risk.


  • Do not have a bonfire in your garden or elsewhere. The risk of wildfires in Berkshire is currently very high and bonfires could easily grow out of control.


  • Avoid the over consumption of alcohol if you are on cooking duty, barbecues must be monitored carefully to avoid any fire risks.
  • Keep your barbecue away from flammable materials such as foliage, tents and dry grass.
  • Keep sand or water nearby in case of an emergency.
  • Be careful when refuelling your barbecue and other fuelled appliances, do not do this whilst they’re still hot.


  • Hot, dry weather makes the ground more susceptible to wildfires, so take extra caution during this period.
  • Do not dispose of cigarettes on the ground, and always ensure that they have been extinguished before throwing them away.
  • Avoid lighting open fires in the countryside.
  • Glass, and other reflective materials, can start fires if left in direct sunlight. To avoid this, ensure that these items are disposed of carefully and are not left in the sun.
  • Call 999 if you encounter a wildfire, noting the location of the fire and meeting them at a designated safe-point. Do not attempt to tackle the blaze yourself.

Water safety

  • Take care when swimming in lakes, quarries, canals or rivers. You can never be certain what is hiding beneath the water. Hidden debris, currents or weeds can injure or trap unsuspecting swimmers
  • Beware of cold water shock when swimming in water. The difference between air and water temperatures can cause even the most experienced swimmers immense difficulty. Remember, lean back and float to live for approximately 90 seconds until the effects of cold water shock subside.
  • Do not jump into bodies of water from bridges or other high places.
  • If you encounter somebody who has fallen into water: Call 999 and identify the specific location of the person.
  • Do not enter the water to help the fallen individual, instead give them a focus by shouting “swim to me”.
  • If there are life aids, such as life buoys or throw bags, throw them to the individual. If using the individual is attached to a rope, make sure it is secured so that you can pull them towards land.

For more information about how to stay safe outdoors, please visit our warm weather advice page.