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Stay Safe in the Heat

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is urging residents to take extra care and help prevent emergencies with temperatures expected to exceed  30°C in the coming days.

Gail Muirhead, Prevention Manager for RBFRS, said: “With the amber heat-health warning in place over the weekend and the Met Office’s forecast, we are asking everyone to take extra care over the weekend.

“Last year, our Service responded to a high number of outdoor fires and whilst our staff are well trained and equipped to handle these incidents, we want people across the County to play their part in reducing the demands on the Service, wherever possible.

“This summer, it’s vital everyone plays their part in helping prevent wildfires and other emergencies. If you’re spending time outside, we are urging people to think twice about having a barbecue when the ground is dry and fire can spread easily. If you’re out and about, please careful around our waterways in the County and don’t be tempted to cool off in open water.”

The Met Office has also issued a yellow alert for thunderstorms in Berkshire. Thunderstorms can cause localised flash flooding and could lead to difficult driving conditions. Read more about staying safe in thunderstorms on the Met Office’s website.

Outdoor Fire Safety:

  • Please think twice about having an outdoor fire when the ground is dry and fire can spread easily, but if you are going to, ensure you only have them in designated areas.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately by calling 999 and asking for the fire service.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in the woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
  • Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as soon as possible and call the fire service.
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – they could start a fire.

Barbecue Safety:

  • If you are planning to have a barbecue, make sure you place it well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste. Never use a barbecue indoors or in a tent as this can give off an invisible, odourless, potentially lethal carbon monoxide gas, which could kill you. 
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues and never leave it unattended. Drinking alcohol while cooking is not recommended.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it. Empty the ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot they could melt the plastic and cause a fire. 

Water Safety: 

  • Call 999 straight away and ask to speak to the fire and rescue service. 
  • The emergency services will need to know where you are. If you do not know the specific location look for landmarks or signs – for example, bridges will often have numbers on them which can identify the location.
  • Never enter the water to try and save someone, even if you are a strong swimmer. 
  • Shout to the person in the water ‘swim to me’. The water can be disorientating and this can give them a focus.
  • Depending on where you are there might be lifebelts or throw bags – use them. If they are attached to rope, make sure you have secured or are holding the end of the rope so you can pull them in.
  • If you do end up in water and in trouble, remember – float to live. Do not panic, float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass. When the cold water shock has passed, you can then swim to the edge or call for help.

For more information about staying safe when out and about, please visit