26 June 2023
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is urging everyone to follow some simple advice to stay safe as the summer holiday period commences.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Area Commander Suzanne Fleming said:
“As the summer holiday period begins it is likely many of us will be spending more time outdoors. We are calling on the public to be careful and follow our safety advice to help prevent emergencies from occurring while they are out enjoying the good weather.
“Earlier this month NIFRS declared a Major Incident due to the number of wildfires we had to attend. Over a 48 hour period we were called to 96 wildfire incidents. Wildfires are completely avoidable and so we are asking the public to make themselves aware of how they can start and to make sure they are behaving safely in the countryside.
“During the summer months the amount of water rescues we attend alongside other partner agencies can also increase. It’s important to be aware of the many dangers of swimming in open water, whether that’s at the beach, a river or a lough. Have a safety plan before going into the water.
“Many people may be heading to the caravan, going camping, planning to light the barbeque or fire pit or taking a trip on a boat. It is very important to be aware of fire safety when enjoying these activities.
“We want everyone who is planning their summer activities to take our summer safety advice on board to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. If you are caravanning or camping, enjoying a swim, having a picnic with family or barbequing with friends, please follow our advice to stay safe.”
NIFRS Summer Safety Advice
Barbecue and Fire Pit Safety
- Keep 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.
- Keep children, pets and garden games away from them.
- Make sure ashes are cold before disposal.
- Fit a smoke alarm.
- Make a fire action plan and ensure everyone on board is aware of what to do if there is a fire.
- Fit a fire extinguisher in the engine compartment and the cockpit locker.
- Fit a carbon monoxide detector in living spaces.
- Consider getting a fire blanket for the kitchen area.
- Never light a candle or have any kind of flame burning apparatus in or near to a tent.
- General advice is to always cook outside and well away from your tent, Don’t cook near flammable materials or long grass.
- Store flammable liquids or gas cylinders away from the tent.
- Never smoke inside a tent.
Caravan and Mobile Home Safety
- Make a fire escape plan.
- If there’s a fire – get out, stay out and call the Fire & Rescue Service immediately.
- Fit a smoke alarm and test it once a week.
- Consider getting a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket, and know how to use them properly.
- Fit a carbon monoxide detector and keep air vents clear.
- Smoking inside can be dangerous so smoke outside.
- In the summer head to a lifeguarded beach, and swim between the red and yellow flags.
- Be aware that cold water can affect you physically and you can get ‘Cold Water Shock’.
- There may be hidden currents.
- Go with others and look out for each other. While you’re in make sure you have someone watching you and that they have a way to call for help.
- Wear a flotation device.
- If you see someone in difficulty in the water
- CALL for help, preferably a lifeguard if nearby. Alternatively ring 999.
- TELL them to float on their back
- THROW them something that floats
- Don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows
- Avoid using open fires in the countryside.
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland or grassland
- Only use barbeques in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.
- 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 NIFRS immediately on 999.
- If you see someone setting fires, report it to the PSNI.