Local people urged to help keep communities fire-safe

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging local people to help keep their communities fire-safe, as the summer holidays draw to a close.

A combination of the Bank Holiday weekend, the last chance for families to get away before schools restart, and large events such as Bournemouth Air Festival, will mean an influx of people visiting the region and using the roads over the coming two weeks.

Group Manager Jason Moncrieff said: “When the sun shines and the rain stays away, there is a far greater risk of fires starting from bonfires, campfires and disposable barbecues.

“Whether it’s being careful to have safety measures in place, or doing things differently to avoid needing a fire, residents and visitors alike can really help us to stop land, property and potentially even lives from being devastated.”

Top tips recommended by the Service include:

  • If you have a bonfire at home, site it well away from buildings, fences, trees and furniture – and have a garden hose to hand in case it starts to get out of control.
  • Never throw away the coals from a home barbecue unless they are completely cold; let it cool for several hours and then douse in water.
  • If you’re out enjoying the countryside, please don’t use a disposable barbecue, especially on heathland or in woodland; a picnic is far safer!
  • If you’re visiting the beach, don’t use flares or fireworks near the cliffs, and avoid having campfires or disposable barbecues near beach huts or any foliage.
  • Always be careful when disposing of cigarette ends, matches and other smoking materials.
  • Wherever you are, please be considerate when parking your car – a fire engine needs 3m clearance and any delay in getting through could be catastrophic.
  • Local roads will be very busy, so please allow plenty of time for your journey and ‘drive to arrive’.

GM Moncrieff said: “We want to do everything possible to avoid another fire on the same scale as the one last year at Wareham Forest, but we also want to keep our communities safe so that everyone can just enjoy the end of the summer. No-one sets out to have an accident, but we can all reduce the risks by taking extra care, whether at home, outside or on the roads.”

More advice on how to stay safe can be found at dwfire.org.uk/safety

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