Date: 15th July, 2022
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents and visitors alike to take extra care over the next few days, as the temperature continues to rise.
An Amber wildfire warning is still in place, and the hot, dry conditions mean that any fire could spread quickly and more easily.
There have been a number of large heath fires across the Service area in recent years, causing devastation to heath, woodland and wildlife, and many of them could have been avoided with more care.
Anyone enjoying the outdoors over the coming days is asked to follow these fire safety top tips:
- Don’t have barbecues or campfires on heath or in open spaces; the risk of a fire starting is too great. Barbecues and campfires are actually banned in many country parks, campsites and open spaces, so make sure you check what is and isn’t allowed where you are, and follow the rules.
- An easy way to stay safe is to #BringAPicnicNotABBQ – and share messages with that hashtag on your social media.
- Extinguish cigarettes properly, and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows – take your litter home.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, get to a safe place and call 999 to report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service. Please provide as much detail as possible about location and if necessary, use the What3Words app and wait for help to arrive.
- Please don’t have a bonfire at home during these high-risk conditions. If it is absolutely necessary, make sure you have a garden hose to hand in case it starts to get out of control, and never use petrol or another accelerant to get it started.
- Barbecue coals and fire pits stay hot for hours, so douse them with water and don’t dispose of the remnants until you can be absolutely sure they are cold.
With local waterways being popular places to visit during hot weather, the Service is also reminding people of the dangers of cold water shock.
Even on a warm day, the temperature in open water can remain very cold, causing a physical reaction which can make it difficult to control breathing, cause panic and make it difficult to swim.
If you do find yourself in difficulty in the water, don’t panic – fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back in the water and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass. Then you can call for help or swim to safety. If someone is in trouble in water, call 999. At the coast, ask for the coastguard. If you are inland, ask for the fire service. You should never enter the water to attempt a rescue.
Group Manager Graham Kewley said: “The exceptional weather that is forecast for the coming days means that we all need to take care when out and about. We want people to enjoy the sunshine, but we do urge everyone to think about what they’re doing and perhaps amend their plans to stay as safe as possible.”
He added: “We’d also remind anyone heading out in the car to make sure they have some bottled water with them – it doesn’t take much to cause traffic congestion, and being stuck in a hot car unexpectedly in these conditions can quickly lead to dehydration.”
For more information about staying safe outdoors, please visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safety-outdoors