Summer safety reminder during hot spell

Whilst the Fire Service hopes everyone can enjoy soaking up the rays, we’d also like to remind people of some of our key safety messages that come with spending more time outdoors.

    Child swimming in water.

    The weather across West Yorkshire has perked up in recent weeks and the days ahead look to be a scorcher.

    Whilst the Fire Service hopes everyone can enjoy soaking up the rays, we’d also like to remind people of some of our key safety messages that come with spending more time outdoors.

    Water safety
    Group Manager Andy Rose said: “Unfortunately, during periods of warm weather we tend to see these figures rise with people entering canals and rivers to cool down and swim.

    “As appealing this may seem there are many hidden dangers that have tragically taken lives and we would urge members of the public to think twice before entering due the potential unseen hazards and risks.”

    Risks can include:

    • Cold water shock.
    • Submerged strainers, these are things that water can pass through but a person would get stuck such as tree branches, rubbish, even vehicles that may have been washed downstream. These may not be visible due to the depth or clarity of the water.
    • Undercurrents, even though it may appear to be still, static water on the surface, there could potentially be undercurrents that have the ability to pin individuals to the bottom of the riverbed.
    • Weirs are to be avoided at all costs. The biggest danger is at the bottom in the form of a ‘stopper.’ Here the recirculating current pulls you back towards the falls and pushes you under the water. In some cases, these are impossible to escape.
    • Contamination from unclean/unsafe water leading to illnesses or diseases.

    Firefighters at Leeds Fire Station, where crews are trained in specialist water rescue, have made a short video ahead of this weekend to remind people of the dangers.

    Moorland fire safety
    The Fire Service’s wildfire lead officer, Dale Gardiner said: “The recent fire at Marsden Moor remains fresh in the mind of everyone involved, from our firefighters who worked incredibly hard to put the fires out and the local communities who were disrupted.

    “Moorland and wildfires can be started in a number of ways. Sadly, many fires in the countryside are started deliberately, however, some can break out by people being careless with barbecues, campfires or not disposing of cigarettes properly.

    “Our message is strong and clear – never have a barbecue or campfire on the moors or start a fire deliberately, wherever you are in the countryside.

    “Many people think it’s just the flame from a barbecue that sets the moorland on fire, but it’s actually the heat from the disposable barbecue that often sets peat and dry moorland alight. Public Space Protection Orders are also in place in Calderdale, Bradford and Kirklees, banning fires and barbecues, as well as Marsden moor.”

    Look out for our #BeMoorAware campaign on social media for more tips.

    Preventing fires in high rise buildings
    For people living in flats and apartments, balconies can offer great outdoor spaces to relax, but please be careful to avoid a fire starting on your balcony.

    This week firefighters responded to a fire involving a balcony at a flat in Little Neville Street in Leeds. The Fire Service was called shortly before 8.20pm on the evening of June 8, 2021 and quickly tackled the blaze. Quick action from residents and responding emergency services ensured no injuries occurred. The investigation into the cause of this fire is ongoing at this current time.

    However, we would like to remind the public of our general fire safety advice in relation to balconies for people living in high-rise buildings.

    • If you have a balcony, restrict the amount of flammable material kept on it and definitely no BBQs
    • If you smoke be very careful to dispose of smoking materials correctly
    • Make sure your exits are kept clear in your home and in communal areas
    • Make sure you are aware of the escape plan for your home should a fire occur in your building or in your home.