Be a happy camper – summer safety tips!

Camping Safety - don't take BBQs into a tent

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) hopes everyone can enjoy the great outdoors safely this summer.

Whether you’re camping, cooking or exploring, it’s worth taking a moment to check out our safety tips to ensure your outdoors adventure doesn’t end in a 999 call.

Area Manager for Fire Safety Ian Bitcon said: “We have enjoyed some great weather so far and as the school summer holidays start we hope that continues. However, like many changes in activity, it can bring risks. If you’re intending to take out your tent, ready your rucksack or get your caravan back on the road, you should go armed with some safety advice before heading for the great outdoors.”

WYFRS supports the national Fire Kills campaign’s top tips:

Tents:

  • Allow at least 6m spacing between tents and caravans and ensure they are away from parked cars to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
  • Keep cooking appliances away from the tent walls and never cook inside a small tent or near flammable materials or long grass; they can all set alight easily.
  • Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there’s a fire.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to put out clothing that’s on fire – stop, drop and roll.
  • Don’t smoke inside tents.

Caravans:

  • Fit and test a smoke alarm in your caravan.
  • Take special care when cooking – don’t leave pans unattended.
  • Turn off all appliances before you go out or to bed.
  • Make sure ashtrays are made of a material that can’t burn or topple over – never smoke in bed.
  • Don’t dry clothes over the stove.
  • Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
  • Make sure the caravan is ventilated, and never block air vents, to avoid a build-up of poisonous gases.

Barbecuing:

  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue or any cooking!
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Never use a BBQ inside to keep you warm. BBQ’s in confined spaces can put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on coal.
  • Never leave a barbecue or any cooking unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire.

Whilst we recommend that you don’t, if you must have an open fire:

  • Ensure that open fires are not prohibited – check with the campsite owner.
  • It should be downwind, at least 10m from the tent.
  • Clear dry vegetation, leaves, etc, to form a circle of earth around the fire.
  • Build a stack that will collapse inwards whilst burning.
  • Do not leave fires unattended.
  • Make sure that fires are fully extinguished after use.

If a fire should breakout:

  • Call the fire and rescue service and give the exact location.
  • If necessary give a map reference.
  • If this is not possible a landmark such as a farm or pub etc, will help them locate you.

Grass and forest fires spread rapidly:

  • Never throw cigarette ends out of a car window – they could start a fire and ruin surrounding countryside.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands.   Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire.   Take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin.

If you discover a fire:

  • Do not be tempted to investigate.
  • Leave the area as quickly as possible, call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service.
  • Do not return unless the fire and rescue service tells you that it is safe to do so.

For more information on fire safety, please visit www.facebook.com/firekills or www.westyorksfire.gov.uk We will also be tweeting about summer safety from our Twitter account @West_Yorks_FRS and posting on our official Facebook page www.facebook.com/westyorkshirefire