Be a ‘Happy Camper’ this Summer

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is encouraging residents to be ‘happy campers’ this summer! The guidance is being issued in support of a monthlong campaign advising people how to stay safe outdoors this summer.

The summer holidays are just around the corner and the hot weather is perfect for having a barbecue, going camping, or just spending a day in the countryside, but these activities can also pose additional hazards. Many of us are well aware of the need for fire safety in the home, but it is important to be just as careful to avoid the risk of fire when you are outside

Follow these simple tips to keep yourself and your family safe this summer: 

Barbecues

  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees etc
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area 
  • Use only approved lighter fuels – never petrol or paraffin – and use only on cold coals
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby, for emergencies
  • Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking or taking medication
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished and cold before disposing of the contents
  • Don’t empty hot ashes into dustbins or wheelie bins - they can melt the plastic and start a fire! 

Countryside

  • Always extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
  • Never throw lit cigarette ends out of car windows – they can destroy whole fields of crops
  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. Only use barbecues in safe, designated areas and never leave them unattended
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass lying around - sunlight shining through glass can start a fire
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately by calling 999

Camping and Caravanning

  • Always site tents and caravans at least six metres apart and away from parked cars
  • Don’t smoke or use candles inside tents
  • Never bring any type of barbecue (i.e. disposable or reusable) into your tent or caravan. Even when the flames aren’t visible, they can still give off carbon monoxide (CO) fumes for some time, which can be deadly
  • Fit and maintain a smoke alarm and a CO alarm in your caravan
  • Keep flammable liquids (e.g. petrol and gas cylinders) outside in a secure location and away from children 

Festivals

  • Pay particular attention to the fire safety guidance provided by the festival organiser
  • If in any doubt, ask the on-site staff

Iain Harrison, Group Manager for Prevention at RBFRS, said: “It’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy the warm weather with family and friends. Many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit but please be patient, don’t use flammable liquids such as petrol. This is extremely dangerous and can cause devastating and life-changing injuries.

“If the weather takes a turn for the worse, never, take your barbecue indoors or into a tent. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion through, for example, burning barbecue coals. It is a colourless odourless gas and has not earned the reputation as the silent killer for nothing. I cannot emphasise enough the dangers carbon monoxide gas can pose within an enclosed space such as a tent or caravan.

“Many people take advantage of the warm weather as a chance to get out in the countryside. Fires can spread extremely quickly, threatening not only people’s safety, but also farm animals and wildlife, and destroying trees and plants. Many are caused by carelessness, such as a cigarette that has not been properly extinguished or where an open fire has got out of control. 

“While we want everyone to enjoy the warm weather, we are urging people to still remain vigilant. Following the simple advice can ensure that you and your loved ones are kept safe this summer.” 

For more information about how to stay safe outdoors please visit, www.rbfrs.co.uk