Fire Safety In the Summer
Summertime is the time to be outside but also the time to be more vigilant of fire safety. This is because outdoor fires have an increased likelihood in the summer months. The most probable factors for outdoor fires in the summertime is the increased heat, the hot and dry atmosphere. There are also a few manmade risks which include BBQ’s, outdoor cooking, outdoor activities and neglect in areas where a gorse fire is likely to ignite.
Whether you have deliberately or accidentally started a fire it is of vital importance you take the right precautions. To avoid such an act that could have devastating effects. Throughout this blog a list of potential fire hazards will be listed along with ways in which they can be dealt with properly and safely. The potential fire hazards that could happen during the summer months in Ireland include barbeques, bonfires, camping, caravan, wildfires.
Nothing says nice weather and summertime more than the sweet smell of barbeque in the air. With barbeques being the go-to social event throughout the summer months. It is vitally important that precautions and safety measures are considered. These precautions can be anything from its placement, the lighting process to keeping stuff near and away from.
When setting up the BBQ you need to consider its placement, as it should be placed on a piece of even land. It also should be placed away from anything that could easily ignite from a rogue flame. For example, anything from a wooden decking to dry grass to overhanging branches could be affected by a rogue flame. If you are using a disposable barbeque you need to be especially careful round these areas. As you don’t want to end up with scorch marks on your porch or grass area. This is why it is recommended that these be put on stone or concrete surfaces.
Lighting The BBQ
In terms of lighting your barbeque the main safety suggestion would be to not take shortcuts. In other words, don’t attempt to speed up the process, as something could go horribly wrong. Although it’s probably on the back of your mind, it doesn’t hurt to prepare for the worst. Preparing for the worst can seem a daunting task but it simply means keeping a source of water or sand in close proximity.
Ensuring that if a fire was to break out the water or sand can be used to quickly smother the flames. Pets and Kids can be quite curious in nature, so it advisable to try and keep them away from anything that could create a fire, such as matches, lighters and the flames themselves. Keeping these things out of reach is the best course for kids and keeping pets locked indoors is the best way to keep them safe.
In both Ireland and Northern Ireland bonfires happen across the island. In Ireland the 23rd of June is known as bonfire night in celebration of St. John. In Northern Ireland it’s the 11th night of July which is known as bonfire night in celebration of the Battle of Boyne. Both nights are a time for celebration with friends and family but its also a time when you need to consider the safety of yourself and others. This because you are dealing with a large open flame, which means that you need to make sure pets and young children are kept away.
If you are the one you is in charge of the bonfire you need to make sure that it isn’t left unattended and once it’s died down its has water poured on it to stop it from reigniting. When setting up the bonfire it is important to remember to only use dry material, check for no cable above the bonfire and not to use petrol to start the fire. Most importantly it is vital that you warn people in the area bout the bonfire in case something went wrong.
When it comes to camping the main fire risk centres around the use of campfires. To get the full effect of the camping experience campfires are a necessity. It is the time where everyone sits around it warm up, eat some roasted s’mores and tell tall tales. Campfires need to be done in a specific way to avoid the risk of an uncontrollable fire breaking out. When it comes to campfire safety, there is a few suggestions in place that can be used for the benefit of your safety and the wildlife’s. These suggestions include picking your spot wisely, preparing your pit, building a small campfire and properly extinguishing the campfire.
If it is available, it is suggested that if there are existing fire pits that they be used. When picking your spot, you must consider that the area may have restrictions in place, and you must not attempt to build in areas that have dry or windy conditions. Once you have found a spot you must ensure that it is at least 15 feet away from your tents, shrubs or other flammable material.
Once you’ve got your spot for your campfire, the next step is to prepare your firepit. With the spot being downwind from your tents and protected from gusts of wind, make sure that it is isn’t any branches in the proximity of the fire. For the best practice dig a hole in the selected area. To best protect it from gushing winds. Which should be roughly 5 inches deep. Once the hole is created make yourself a containment ring of dry rocks around the hole.
Collecting The Materials
With all hazards out of the proximity of the selected fire pit area and the pit created, you need to collect the material, just make sure to not go overboard with the wood as you don’t want to make the fire too big. With the material collected start by setting out the tinder bed in the middle of pit you have created. The tinder used can be things such as small twigs, dry leaves, or grass. Then add the kindling (slightly bigger twigs) on top of the tinder bed and finally the fuel of the fire the firewood, which is depicted as large pieces of wood. For a good fire you need dryness as it will light easier and be able to maintain a good flame.
For the safety of yourself and others u need to ensure that you extinguish of the campfire properly. Especially when you or going to bed or leaving the area. If you can let the campfire burn out itself to its ashes. If it is close to that or at that stage to fully put it out pour water onto the embers of the fire to drown them. Depending on where you made the fire use the shovel to add soil or sand to the pit, stir it about and test to see if you still heat off it. Once little to no heat is detected you are free to go to bed or leave the area.
Whether u live full time or just holidaying in a caravan, you must take into account the safety measures that are in place that can help reduce the risk of potential fires. For obvious reasons the main safety measure is to install a smoke alarm. Which you should realistically be testing once a week and ensure that you don’t remove the batteries. Although you may not use this too often in the summertime, but you need to take care when using heaters. This is because if you attempt to dry clothes on or near the heater it could catch fire, if left on for too long.
Along with heaters, the electrics, candles, and cooking appliances all pose fire risks. In terms of electrical safety to avoid the risk of a fire make sure you don’t overload the sockets and turn off all the appliances. When working with candles it is suggested that for caravans use battery operated ones instead. If that’s not your style and you want to use real candles just make sure you don’t leave it unattended. Everyone knows the fire risk cooking can pose, in terms of cooking in a caravan the main safety precaution is to not use a stove or Barbeque inside or too close to the caravan.
When considering the fire risks outside the caravan, the main fire risk is the gas cylinder. Which needs to be turned off when not in use and at least 6 metres away from the caravan. You also need to ensure that fuel isn’t stored under the caravan or in direct sunlight and that flammable liquids are stored away from children.
A wildfire is defined as an unplanned fire that happens in a natural area like a forest or grassland. It is suggested that the main cause for this event is human activity, which could be deliberate or accidental. These activities include anything such as campfires, BBQs, bonfires, cigarettes, vehicles, glass bottles, controlled burning that gets out of control and arson. These acts can create a fire that starts the wildfire but it’s the weather conditions that truly effect its size and the spread of the fire.
With strong winds, high temperatures or low rainfall trees, scrubs, fallen leaves and grass can become dry, making them the prime ingredient to kickstart a fire. wildfires can happen naturally, but it is suggested that this is the cause of 10% -15% of all wildfires. This suggests that 85% – 90% of wildfires are created through manmade interference.
Although in some cases, this event can happen naturally and is in some instances is unavoidable. You should be more considerate of your surrounding environment. This could be anything from disposing of your rubbish properly to not being an accessory to arson.
I hope you found this piece of reading insightful. The moral of this blog is basically to help ensure that you are safe this summer and don’t do anything that can put yourself, others or the environment in any danger. If you do cause a fire by accident that becomes uncontrollable, don’t hesitate, get everyone to safety and CALL the fire brigade.
For more information on fire safety, why not check out the other blogs on our page or send us an email ([email protected]).