As the days get longer and the nights get warmer, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service wants you to have an enjoyable and safer summer.
Whether you’re off camping in the countryside, barbecuing with friends or enjoying a picnic with the family, you can take some simple steps to protect yourself from danger.
We’ve put together some useful information about deliberate fires, the great outdoors and advice on how you can leave your home ‘fire safe’ if you plan to leave it for an extended period of time.
During the summer as the schools break-up, we often see a rise in the number of deliberate fires across Scotland. These include refuse and wheelie bin fires, fires in stairwells or derelict buildings, as well as grass and countryside fires made worse by hot and dry conditions.
If you’re a parent or guardian, you can help reduce the number of deliberately set fires by discussing fire safety with young people.
Here in Scotland, we boast some of the most stunning scenery in the UK – we’d really appreciate your help to keep it that way.
Warmer weather and the increased numbers of people visiting the countryside creates a greater risk of fire. When you’re out and about:
- Make sure you extinguish and dispose of any smoking materials properly. Never throw a lit cigar or cigarette away in a rural environment as they have the potential to cause serious fires, or even wildfires, during the drier summer months
- Dispose of glass or bottles in a bin and not out in the open. Glass can be magnified by the sun’s rays and has the potential to cause a wildfire or serious grassland fire
- Before lighting any outdoor fires, check for any restrictions or permissions required by the landowner
- Ensure recreational fires are made in a fire safe pit or container and that they are properly extinguished before you leave
- If a fire occurs in the countryside, no matter how small, call 999 and ask for the Fire Service straight away. Even small fires have the potential to turn into a wildfire
- Many outdoor fires are started deliberately or are due to careless, reckless or irresponsible behaviour. If you suspect someone of acting irresponsibly, contact Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Anyone holidaying or going to the countryside for sports or leisure can find some great advice about staying safe by reading the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. If you’re a camper, remember:
- A fire in a caravan or mobile home spreads much more quickly than it would in a house or flat
- Caravans should be fitted with a smoke alarm - if you have a cooking area, consider fitting a heat alarm
- Make sure that caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and well away from parked cars. This will reduce the risk of fire spreading.
If you are camping, it’s important to have campsite safety in mind during your trip:
- Tents can be ‘gone in 60 seconds’ and are particularly susceptible to fire – don’t light fires near them, cook well back from them, and make sure any campfires are out before you go to sleep
- Only use torches in or near a tent, they’re much safer than candles
- Don’t smoke inside tents
It’s important too to know the risks associated with carbon monoxide (CO):
- Heating and cooking appliances can cause CO poisoning if they are poorly installed, incorrectly used, inadequately ventilated or if they are not regularly or properly maintained
- The early signs of CO poisoning include tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, chest pains or nausea
- If you have a caravan, consider fitting a CO detector and ensure that the caravan is well ventilated
- Never take a portable barbeque - or lit charcoal - into an enclosed space like a tent or caravan, even if they are cooling down – the fumes can be lethal.
Switch off before you set off
If you’re leaving your home for an extended period of time this summer for a holiday, remember to ‘switch off before you set off’.
Things like electrical appliances – televisions, hair straighteners, computers – are more likely to cause a fire if they are accidentally left switched on for long periods of time, for example when people go on holiday for a week or two.
So if you’re about to set off for a much needed relaxing holiday we would ask you to switch off electrical appliances and take a moment to consider our fire safety advice before you set off.