Safety reminder as hot weather hits West Yorkshire
Firefighters are warning of heightened risks as extreme heat hits West Yorkshire – with new stats showing an increase in accidental drownings when temperatures are highest.
The figures from the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) show that since 2015 there has been a consistent spike in fatal accidents when hot weather peaks.
On top of this water safety risk, crews are also reminding the public about their responsibilities to the countryside, with concerns about the link between warm weather and moorland fires.
Scott Donegan, Area Manager for Service Delivery for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “A large proportion of the deaths by drowning in our local waters often occur on the hottest days and on weekends, when people are taking part in recreational activities like walking, running, swimming, and jumping in.
“We want everyone to understand the risks so they can relax, have fun and enjoy the weather while avoiding potentially devastating consequences for themselves, their families and the local community. Our warning is clear – there are hidden dangers in open water, so please stay out of rivers, streams, canals, and quarries, however tempting it might be to go in to cool off.
“In extreme temperatures, we are also on high alert for wildfires. They can ignite and spread quickly and easily across open grass, causing long-term damage to our wildlife and environment. We particularly want people to refrain from using disposable barbeques near dry grasslands, due to the high risk they will start such a devastating fire.”
The five steps to summer safety issued by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are:
- If someone is in trouble in the water in West Yorkshire, dial 999 and ask for FIRE
- If you see any type of flame on moorland, dial 999 and ask for FIRE
- Do not be tempted to cool off in open water unless it is a designated swimming area, as cold-water shock and hidden dangers beneath can be fatal, even for strong swimmers
- Take picnics instead of barbeques. Any type of naked flame is banned on moorland and can incur a fine or imprisonment
- When out and about enjoying the warm weather in West Yorkshire, consider where to park your car, ensuring there is space for emergency vehicle access – it could save a life.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service works closely with a range of partners across the region to plan for a wide range of factors affecting risk and resilience, both short and long term.