At 9.45pm on Thursday (2 June 2022), over 1,500 beacons are expected to be lit throughout the United Kingdom to mark the first time that a sovereign has marked a Platinum Jubilee.
The beacons will enable individuals, communities and organisations to pay tribute as part of the official Platinum Jubilee Weekend celebrations, which run from Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 June.
We’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes a Happy Platinum Jubilee, and also to encourage those organising or hosting beacons to follow some key safety advice to ensure everyone can celebrate safely.
“We hope people enjoy themselves as we unite to celebrate The Queens’ Platinum Jubilee, but we are also keen to ensure that everyone celebrates safely and minimises the risk of fire to property, businesses or local people whilst doing so.
“If you are responsible for hosting a beacon in your community, please follow the guidance set out, to ensure the event is remembered for the right reasons.”Community Safety Manager, Joanne Cook – May 2022
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons 2022 (queensjubileebeacons.com) outlines everything you may need to know regarding the celebrations, including information on the different types of beacons and how to stay safe from fire.
Our advice is:
- If you are hosting your own private beacon, make sure the structure and base are stable and located away from fences, hedges or sheds.
- Only suitable materials are burnt – do not use an accelerant on a fire already lit.
- Do not light a beacon in very high winds.
- Do not hang bunting or decorations in an area where they may fall onto or be affected by a beacon.
- Keep children and pets away from the beacon.
- Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
- Remember, embers will stay hot for a long time after the flames have been extinguished, ensure children and pets are kept away from them and that they are not placed in a bin or disposed of on a compost heap until they are completely cool.
- If you think a beacon or fire is dangerously out of control, do not attempt to tackle it yourself, call 999.
You may see firefighters attending local street events and celebrations throughout the area while on duty. We look forward to celebrating with you, and ultimately we want everyone to be able to celebrate safely”.
Some people may be considering using fireworks or bonfires as part of their celebration. If that’s you, please:
- Ensure they are lit at arms length.
- Never return to lit fireworks – even if a lit firework has not gone off, it has the potential to!
- Ensure people stand well back.
- Fabric, paper and plastic materials used for bunting, costumes and table decorations are likely to be flammable, so please keep them well away from anything that has been lit.
- Keep pets safely indoors.
Due to the unpredictability of where sky lanterns will land, and the potential for them to start fires on other peoples’ property, we are keen to discourage people from lighting them.
We have provided links from this page to our safety tips for anyone who is considering using any of the following to help mark the Platinum Jubilee:
- Sky lanterns
An online toolkit is also available to help you plan and celebrate: The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022
Sharing burn awareness information is even more important to firefighters in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes this year – as many of our typical autumn celebrations are likely to look slightly different.
With many public organised events being cancelled this year, celebrating safely at home, is going to be a key message from emergency services.
Over the coming weeks you will see lots of messages from us, as well as from your local authority which will be keeping you up to date on the latest COVID-19 control measures in your area.
Community Safety Manager, Joanne Cook, said: “Candles and fireworks both have the potential to cause burns, and are common features through the late autumn period, often being used during events around Halloween (Saturday 31 October), Bonfire night (Thursday 5 November) and Diwali (Saturday 14 November).
“Being burned or scalded can mean years of painful treatment and, in the worst cases, hundreds of operations to release the scar tissue. While things like candles and fireworks have a high profile at this time of year, it can be easy to overlook how simple measures can help reduce the risk of getting burnt when distracted in the home.”
Burns can also be caused by more standard household items, such as hot drinks, bathing or washing up water, irons, hair straighteners, and even some household cleaners.
Joanne added: “Many people don’t realise that children and older people are the most vulnerable to burns and scalds, and the majority of injuries occur as a result of an accident that could so easily have been prevented.
“We are also keen to help raise awareness that however the burn occurs simple, quick and appropriate treatment can make a massive difference to someone’s life. Please keep reading this item to find out the best way to treat a burn or scald, from our colleagues at the specialist burns unit at Stoke Mandeville”
Joanne’s safety tips to help avoid a burn or scald in the home:
- Install smoke alarms on each floor and test regularly
- Keep hot drinks out of reach of babies and young children
- Make and practise fire escape plans with the whole family
- Run COLD water first in the bath or sink before adding hot water – test the temperature
- Install thermostatic mixing valves in all hot water outlets
- Keep saucepans at the back of the stove, NOT near the front – turn handles to the back
- Keep kettles, irons, hair straighteners or wires out of reach
- Keep secure fire screens in front of open fires, heaters and radiators
- Store matches and lighters out of reach
- Store chemicals, cleaners and acids out of reach
- Drink hot drinks while nursing/holding a baby or child
- Put a baby or child into a bath or sink until the water has been tested
- Warm baby bottles in the microwaves
- Leave hair straighteners unattended
- Allow children near BBQs or garden chemicals
- Allow children near fireworks
- Leave children unattended in the kitchen, bathroom or near fires and heaters
Prevention of hot drink burns is easy using simple SafeTea rules:
- Keep hot drinks out of reach of young children
- Never carry a hot drink while carrying a baby
- Never pass a hot drink over the heads of young children
- Ways to keep hot drinks away from children:
- Place hot drinks at the back of the kitchen surface
- Don’t place a hot drink on a table cloth or cloth that hangs down so that a small child can reach and pull it down
- Make a safe place . . . a SafeTea zone for hot drinks . . . in your home where you and members of the family and visitors can keep hot drinks from young children
- Avoid drinking hot drinks around small children
- Always remind visitors to your home to ‘Keep hot drinks out of reach of the young children
Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is pleased to be able to add its support to National Burn Awareness Day, which helps draw attention to the fact that prevention and good first aid are key to reducing the number of burns and scalds occurring in the UK every single day.
Consultant Plastic and Burns Surgeons, Miss Alexandra Murray and Professor Fadi Issa, who both work at Stoke Mandeville Burns Unit, are keen to help highlight the importance of being burns aware.
Miss Murray said: “It’s a great time of year to raise awareness of the potential for burns, as candles, bonfires and fireworks are often at the forefront of people minds. However, burns or scalds can happen at any time and correct, swift treatment can make a big difference“.
Professor Issa said: “While anyone can suffer a burn or scald, there are some themes we see quite regularly.
– In children the principal cause of burns is scalds from things like hot cups of tea or coffee, hot baths, and contact burns for example from touching hobs.
– In adults it is often flame or flash burns from people setting things on fire with accelerants, or kitchen accidents while cooking.
– In the older age group we see quite a few hot bath burns or contact burns from radiators, particularly in those with mobility issues.
“During the covid peak we saw quite a few burns resulting from steam inhalation accidents in virtually all age groups.”
If burnt you should:
- Promptly cool the burn under cool running water for at least twenty minutes
- After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag
- Do not use any creams/lotions/toothpaste
- Seek medical advice and call 999 if necessary
- Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned
- buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus for information relating to COVID-19 control measures in Buckinghamshire.
- milton-keynes.gov.uk/your-council-and-elections/covid-19-in-milton-keynes/local-outbreak-plan for information relating to COVID-19 control measures in Milton Keynes.
- britishburnassociation.org for information about the British Burn Association.
- cbtrust.org.uk for information about the Children’s Burns Trust.
The next few weeks will see many young people across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes taking their first steps towards independent living, as they move away from home and into student accommodation ready for the start of their academic year.
Along with a “Welcome” or “Welcome back” to those returning, firefighters in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are keen to share some simple tips that could help reduce the risk of being affected by fire in your student “digs”.
Community Safety Manager, Joanne Cook, said: “We know there is a whole mountain of things that family and friends, and students themselves, have to think about and prepare for when starting, or returning to, further education – and even more this year with COVID-19 at the forefront of all our minds.
“We don’t want to add to the load, however we would like to ask you to add these messages to your take away pack, or that of your home leaver, to make sure our students stay safe as they find their feet living away from home for the first time.
“Following the tips could actually help to lighten the load, and make settling in to a new routine that little bit easier.”
Top tips to takeaway:
To reduce the risk of a fire happening in the first place, Joanne recommends that you:
- Do not leave cooking unattended.
- Do not cook if you have been drinking alcohol.
- Ensure candles are in a suitable holder and keep them away from flammable surfaces or textiles.
- Do not overload plug sockets.
- Switch off electrical equipment such as mobile phone chargers when not in use.
- Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furnishings and never dry clothes on them.
When it comes to “moving in”:
- Check what the fire safety rules are – burning items like candles in rooms may be banned.
- Pay attention to fire drills and never ignore alarms.
- Be aware of the procedure of what to do on discovery of a fire or being alerted to a fire.
- If you’ve spotted a fire risk or have concerns, speak to the building manager, person you pay your rent to or student ambassador.
- If you are not satisfied with the response, you can contact the National Union of Students (NUS) for further advice.
- Know your escape route – what is the quickest way out? Also have an alternative route in mind.
- If a fire starts, get out, stay out and call 999.
Joanne adds: “It’s also worth knowing a little bit about the regulations for student accommodation, and checking up on the local arrangements for your accommodation.”
Legislation relating to accommodation
Any new-build or refurbished building in England & Wales, including student halls, must comply with the 2010 Building Regulations. These buildings also need to comply with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
Providers of student accommodation blocks have a responsibility to comply with fire safety legislation and give advice to their tenants on the fire safety arrangements and procedures for their particular building.
In some building types the residents are told to evacuate the building, whilst in others, especially high rise buildings, they may have a ‘stay put’ policy.
Joanne’s final two top tips:
“As young people move into student accommodation blocks, it is essential that they know the evacuation strategy in place for their building.
“Finally, a really useful document to read through is the NUS leaflet Fire safety and high rise student accommodation. This contains information on the Grenfell Tower fire, the potential implications for students living in high rise halls, and what students and students’ unions can do to ensure student safety. It also provides contact details if you have specific queries or concerns.”