Date: 16th May, 2016
Boat Fire Safety Week starts on 30 May, and firefighters from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting boaters along the Kennet & Avon Canal to offer free safety advice.
Crews will be using bicycles to travel up and down the towpath, offering safety advice and free smoke detectors to people who live, work or are holidaying on the water. They will also be highlighting the specific dangers to boat users from carbon monoxide.
Targeted areas will be as follows:
- Honeystreet area – 27 May
- Bradford on Avon area – 31 May
- Devizes area – 31 May
- Froxfield to Wootton Rivers – 1 and 2 June
- Bradford on Avon area – 3 June
- Honeystreet area – 6 June
Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences – in January, a man lost his life in a boat fire on the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bradford on Avon.
In addition, national figures show that 60 boaters have been killed in the last 20 years as a result of a boat fire or carbon monoxide incident. CO poisoning is most likely to be caused by the exhaust emissions of portable generators, or problems with solid fuel stoves including flue pipes.
Crew Manager Colin Owens, from the rural safety team, said: “We know that boats carry a very high fire risk, and the tragic loss of life earlier this year just underlined how important it is for boaters to do all they can to protect themselves. Firefighters do travel along the towpath when they can, but Boat Fire Safety Week is an opportunity for us to run a concerted campaign and hopefully reach as many people as possible.”
He added: “As well as offering fire safety advice, and fitting smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as required, we will also be reminding 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.”
Among the top tips that firefighters will be sharing with boaters are:
- Fit a suitable smoke detector;
- Make a fire action plan;
- Take extreme 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 your eye on a solid fuel stove when it’s lit and try to avoid leaving the boat with the stove running.
To arrange a boat safety visit, call visit www.dwfire.org.uk/boat-safety or just chat to any of the firefighters as they make their way along the towpath.
For further information about general boat fire and CO safety, visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe