Date: 27th May, 2022
People who live and work on the Kennet & Avon Canal can access free boat safety packs from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences.
In addition, boaters are also at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, as this can be caused by the exhaust emissions of portable generators, or problems with solid fuel stoves including flue pipes.
The Boat Safety Scheme designates 30 May to 5 June as Boat Fire Safety Week, so the Service is taking the opportunity to promote the free safety advice that is available.
Amongst the top tips being shared with boaters are:
- Fit a suitable smoke detector;
- Make a fire action plan;
- Take care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders;
- Avoid using portable gas equipment on board, where possible, and store all gas canisters in special gas lockers or open places where any leaks will flow overboard;
- Routinely check items such as battery terminals and fuse box connections for damaged strands or signs of overheating;
- Take care when doing repairs, and keep interiors well ventilated when using adhesives, paints and spirit-based products; and
- Always keep an eye on a solid fuel stove when it’s lit and don’t leave it unattended.
Tracy Jenkins, Safe & Well Team Leader for Wiltshire, said: “We know that boats carry a very high fire risk, and it is vital that boaters do all they can to protect themselves, and also be aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. As well as offering fire safety advice, and fitting smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as required, we also remind boaters of the importance of knowing their location at all times so that, in the event of any emergency, we can get there as quickly as possible.”
The Service has entered a long-term partnership with Scotia Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities for the next five years to raise awareness of carbon monoxide and the dangers it presents to members of the public. The aim is to provide relevant safety messages and carbon monoxide alarms to vulnerable members of its communities.
Boat safety packs can be collected from wharfs and marinas along the canal, by calling 0800 038 2323, or visiting one of the following fire stations:
- Bradford on Avon – Monday evenings, 7pm to 9pm
- Devizes – Wednesday evenings, 7.15pm to 8.45pm
- Pewsey – Monday evenings, 7pm to 9pm
- Trowbridge – Monday evenings, 7pm to 9.30pm
For further information about general boat fire and carbon monoxide safety, visit www.dwfire.org.uk/boat-safety