Les Davis
Community Fire Safety Liaison Officer
talks about
Fire safety in the Outdoors
When you want to relax, the last thing you're probably thinking of is safety. Especially when you're outdoors, or away from home. But that's when accidents can easily happen, in particular if you're in unfamiliar surroundings.
Fire safety doesn't stop when you leave your home. Carelessness outdoors can have fatal results, and fires can also destroy huge areas of countryside and delicate ecosystems.
Leisure activities such as barbecues, camping and caravanning should be relaxing and enjoyable experiences. But it is important to stay alert to the fire hazards that they pose.
These activities are most popular during the warmer months - when dry ground adds to the dangers - but care should be taken at all times of the year.
This section covers what to watch out for when outdoors, and what steps you can take if there's a fire.
Be careful
When children are around
When lighting a barbecue
When disposing of used barbecue coals
When people are drinking
With gas bottles
With candles and cigarettes
The Basics
Having a barbecue should be a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. But cooking over hot coals can be hazardous. It's easy to be distracted when you have family and friends around you whilst cooking. To avoid injuries or damage to property, follow these simple tips:
Make sure that your barbecue is in good working order.
Keep a bucket of water, a bucket of sand or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.
Make sure your barbecue site is flat and well away from sheds, fences, trees and shrubs.
Use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about 50mm (two inches).
Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area.
Never leave the barbecue unattended.
When you've finished cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it. Empty ashes onto bare garden soil.
Never put ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin. If they're hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
Remember - Barbecues should never be lit indoors!
Gas Barbecues
· Bottled gas barbecues need special care when being turned on and off.
· Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
· Change gas cylinders in the open air if possible, or open doors and windows to provide good ventilation.
· When you've finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbecue controls, to ensure any gas in the pipeline is used up.
· Don't overload sockets.
If you suspect a leak to the gas cylinder or pipe work:
· Brush soapy water around all joints and watch for bubbles.
· If you find a leaky joint, try to tighten it. But do not over tighten.
Storing Gas Cylinders
Do not keep more spare gas cylinders than you need
Store gas cylinders outside.
Keep gas cylinders away from frost and direct sunlight.
Never store gas cylinders under the stairs of your home - if you are upstairs this is your means of escape from a fire.
Enjoy yourself, but remember - too much alcohol and fire never mix!
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