Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service

Summer Fire Safety Advice

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service guide on how to be fire safe and summer safe over the summer months.
Barbeque Safety
Whether you are in the garden or out camping, follow these simple tips to barbeque safety and avoid injuries or damage to property from fire.
  •  Make sure your barbeque site is flat and away from fences, trees, shrubs and sheds.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbeque – use firelighters or starter fuel on cold coals.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • Never leave a barbeque unattended.
  • Concentrate on what you are doing; it-s easy to get distracted when you have family and friends around.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbeque is cool before moving it.
  • Make sure ashes are cold before disposal.
  • Remember, alcohol consumption increases the risk of accidents occurring.

Additional Tips for Gas Barbeques

  • Make sure your barbeque is in good working order. 
  • Make sure the gas tap is turned off before changing the cylinder and always disconnect the cylinder in open air. 
  • When you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the barbeque controls – this ensures any gas in the pipework will be exhausted.
Camping Safety
Whether you are heading off to a music festival or are simply going for a relaxing weekend outdoors, stick to these simple guidelines and keep your camping trip safe.
  • Tents should ideally be pitched at least 6 metres apart from other tents.
  • Keep a torch handy.  Never light a candle or have any kind of flame burning apparatus in or near to a tent.
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
  • General advice is to always cook outside and well away from your tent, no matter how large.  Cooking appliances should never be used in small tents.
  • Don’t cook near flammable materials or long grass.
  • Store flammable liquids or gas cylinders away from the tent.
  • Never smoke inside a tent.
  • A fire can destroy a tent in 60 seconds so it is essential you have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of the tent if there is fire.
  • Make sure everyone knows what to do if their clothes catch fire – stop, drop to the floor and roll to put out the flames.
    If somebody else-s clothes catch fire, tell or force them to drop and try to smother the flames with a blanket or large item of clothing to quell the flames, then get them to roll.
  • Find out what the firefighting arrangements are in place for the campsite.
  • If you do not have a mobile phone then find out where the nearest phone is located


Every year, NIFRS is called to deal with large numbers of wildfires across Northern Ireland which are a serious risk to lives, property and the environment.  NIFRS wants everyone to enjoy the countryside and recommends the following fire safety tips to help prevent a wildfire and ensure a safe visit.

  • Extinguish your cigarette and other smoking materials properly and don-t throw cigarette ends on the ground – take your litter home.
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside, it may seem a good idea but an open fire can easily get out of control.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland or grassland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires.  Take them home or dispose in a waste or recycling bin.
  • Keep children away from lighters, matches and open fires.
  • Only use barbeques in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.
  • Ensure barbeques are fully extinguished and cold before disposing of their contents.
  • Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can-t be extinguished with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside report it to the Fire & Rescue Service immediately.
  • If you see someone setting fires, report it to the Police.

Caravan and Mobile Home Safety


Many of the same rules about fire safety in the home also applies to caravans and mobile homes.
  • Park caravans and mobile homes at least 6 metres apart.
  • Make a fire escape plan.
  • If there’s a fire – get out, stay out and call the Fire & Rescue Service immediately.
  • Make sure you can get out of a window if needed.
  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it once a week.
  • You should consider getting a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket, and know how to use them properly.
  • Do not dry clothes on or right next to a heater.
  • Make sure heaters are working properly – use a Gas Safe engineer to fix gas heaters.
  • Turn gas off when not in use.
  • Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector and keep air vents clear.
  • Don-t overload sockets; an adapter with a lead is safer.
  • Smoking inside can be dangerous so smoke outside.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Take extra care when cooking with hot fats and oils.
  • Never put water on burning oil or fat.
  • When not in use, fuel should be stored ideally six metres away from your caravan or mobile home and away from heat.
Boat Safety

Fire can be a dangerous and terrifying event, but its effects become even more serious when escape is either difficult or leads to a place of other danger. Reduce the risk from fire by following these simple tips.

  • Fit a smoke alarm.
  • Ensure furnishings, foam and insulation are fire retardant.
  • Make a fire action plan and ensure your crew are aware of what to do if there is a fire.
  • Fit a fire extinguisher in the engine compartment and the cockpit locker.
  • Contain and vent battery boxes.

If a fire occurs on the marina

  • If safe to do so, isolate gas and fuel supplies.
  • Evacuate the craft and ensure all the crew are wearing lifejackets.
  • Call the Fire & Rescue Service.
  • Stay out.
  • Warn neighbouring craft.
If a fire occurs at sea
  • Only tackle a fire if it is safe to do so.
  • Contact the Coastguard/Fire & Rescue Service.
  • Identify position or give landmarks.
  • Ensure all crew are wearing lifejackets.
  • Prepare emergency grab bag (flares, VHF radio, compass) and life raft.
  • If safe to do so, isolate gas and fuel supplies.
  • Do not open the engine panel.
  • Only as a last resort abandon ship.
 Water Safety

When the weather is warm, the idea of cooling down in water can be very tempting but there are many hidden dangers that make some waterways unsuitable and unsafe for swimming.

  • Remember there is no supervision by lifeguards if you get into trouble.
  • The water is often a lot colder than you expect and it can impact on your physical capabilities.  Just because you can swim well in a warm swimming pool doesn-t mean you-ll be able to swim well in cold water.
  • It can be deep and it is often very difficult to estimate the depth before you get in.
  • You can jump in but can you get out?  Often people can-t find a suitable place to get out.
  • There is no way of knowing what lies beneath the surface.  There could be shopping trolleys, open tin cans and broken bottles.
  • If it-s polluted it could make you ill.
  • There may be hidden currents.
  • Never drink alcohol during or just before swimming or while carrying out other activities such as boating or water skiing.
  • If you are going to go swimming, make sure that somebody is nearby so you can shout for help if you get into difficulties.

Swimming at the Beach

  • Children should always go to the beach with an adult.  An adult can point out dangers and help if someone gets into difficulty. 
  • When you are swimming at the beach, be aware of which flag is flying as this will warn you of any dangers.
  • A red and yellow flag means lifeguards are on patrol.
  • A red flag means it is dangerous to bathe or swim, so don-t go into the water.
  • A quartered black and white flag means that the area has been zoned for use of surf boards and kayaks and is not safe for swimmers and bathers.
  • If you see someone in difficulty in the water, tell somebody, preferably a lifeguard if there is one nearby.  Alternatively use the nearest phone or your mobile and dial 999.

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