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Outdoor Safety 

 

Barbecues

  • 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 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, long dry grass or any other items that catch fire easily.
  • 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.
  • Never use or take a smouldering or lit BBQ (charcoal or gas) into your house, tent or caravan. Even if you have finished cooking, your BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use and can put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, collapse and loss of consciousness. If concerned seek medical advice.

For additional information please see the ‘Gas Safe Register’ website as they have a dedicated section on barbecue safety – www.gassaferegister.co.uk/bbq – with the following introduction:

In recent years there have been a number of fatalities and injuries as a result of people bringing BBQ’s into enclosed spaces and being overcome by carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous substance which is created when fossil fuels such as gas and solid fuels like charcoal and wood fail to combust fully due to a lack of oxygen. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly with no warning.

They have a wealth of information on their website:
www.gassaferegister.co.uk/carbonmonoxide
www.gassaferegister.co.uk/bbq

Camping

When you are going camping, follow these basic precautions to reduce the risk of fire starting and spreading:

  • Never use candles in or near a tent – torches are safer.
  • Before you set off, get the contact details of the local fire and rescue service.
  • Set up tents at least six metres apart and away from parked cars.
  • Make sure you know what the fire arrangements on the camp site are and where the nearest telephone is.
  • Don’t smoke inside a tent.
  • Place your cooking area well away from the tent.
  • Keep your cooking area clear of trees, shrubs, long dry grass or any other items that catch fire easily.
  • Put cooking appliances in a place where they can’t easily be knocked over.
  • Keep matches, lighters, flammable liquids and gas cylinders out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave a lit BBQ unattended or while sleeping.
  • Have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire.

Caravans

Having a working smoke alarm when you’re staying in a caravan is just as important as having one in your home. Additional messages for those living in caravans include:

  • Ensure caravans and tents are at least 6 metres apart and away from parked cars.
  • Make sure you know what the fire arrangements on the camp site are and where the nearest telephone is.

Inside the caravan:

  • If you smoke, use metal ashtrays – and never smoke in bed.
  • Don’t leave children alone inside.
  • Don’t block air vents – if any leaking gas builds up you may fall unconscious and be unable to escape.
  • Turn off all appliances before you leave the caravan or go to bed.
  • Never use a cooker or heater whilst your caravan is moving.

If there's a fire in your caravan:

  • Get everyone out straight away.
  • Call the fire and rescue service and give your location with a map reference, if possible, or provide a nearby landmark, like a farm.

How to reduce the risk of wildfires in the countryside

Dry vegetation in the summer means there’s an added risk of a fire starting in the countryside. Every year, fire destroys thousands of acres of countryside and wildlife habitats. Some fires are started deliberately, but most are due to carelessness. Follow these tips to reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside:

  • Extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground.
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them).
  • Take your litter home.
  • Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area (see advice on BBQs above) and never leave them unattended.
  • Avoid using open fires in the countryside.  Always have them in safe designated areas.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately.
  • Don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • If you can, prepare for the arrival of the fire and rescue service at the pre-arranged meeting point, by unlocking gates, etc.

The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside. Most of it is just good common sense, designed to help us all to respect, protect and enjoy our countryside.

The Code, updated in 2012, makes it clear what the responsibilities are for both the public and the people who manage the land. It has information about rights, responsibilities and liabilities and how we all have a duty to protect the countryside.  Together with common sense, it helps to make it easy for visitors to act responsibly and identify possible dangers.

For more information on The Countryside Code, please visit
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/enjoying/countrysidecode/