Fire safety: Don't drop your guard during the holiday months

Mon 4 Jul, 2016

With everyone keeping their fingers crossed for a long, hot summer, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is hoping it will be a safe one too.

Firefighters are urging people not to drop their guard against the risk of fire during the holiday months.

Community safety manager Richard Priest said: “Whether you are planning to go camping or caravanning, or simply looking forward to spending more time outdoors, we want everyone to have a good time without falling foul of seasonal risks."

Richard offered the following tips:

Outdoor fires

  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows or drop them on the ground – 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.
  • Make sure you follow the Countryside Code. To find out more, click here.

If a fire should break out or you discover a fire:

  • Don't be tempted to investigate. Leave the area as quickly as possible and ring 999 for the fire and rescue service.
  • Give the exact location. If possible, give a map reference. If this is not possible, a landmark such as a farm or pub will help firefighters locate you.
  • Do not return to the area unless firefighters tell you that it is safe to do so.

If you must have an open fire or camp fire:

  • Clear away dry vegetation and leaves to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Build a stack that will collapse inwards while burning.
  • Don't leave fires unattended, and make sure that fires are fully extinguished after use.
  • If you are camping, the fire should be downwind, at least 10 metres from the tent.

Tents and caravans

  • Allow a gap of at least six metres between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Never take a smouldering or lit barbecue inside a tent. Even if you have finished cooking, your barbecue should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use. (Click here for more information about barbecues).
  • Don’t smoke inside tents, and never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
  • Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls, and never cook inside a small tent or near flammable materials or long grass.
  • 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, as running will fan the flames.
  • Fit and test a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm in your caravan.
  • Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.
  • Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.
  • Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
  • Don’t store fuel under the caravan. 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.