Avoidable Risk
The news this week has been dominated by the “fallout” from the volcanic eruption in Iceland, pushing the General Election jamboree into second place. At least one silver lining perhaps. We live close to an airport so the lack of engine roar and vapour trails in the sky has been noticeable and welcome for us but not I guess for the thousands trapped abroad on sun drenched beaches.

The inquest will now no doubt begin into whether the risk was overstated. Surely that is the thing about risk assessment. If you are at 30000 feet in a glorified cigar case then any clear and present danger should be taken seriously until proved otherwise. To fall from that height is akin to dropping raw eggs off a cliff. None survive.

Despite a withering Northerly wind the sun was shining yesterday so we stepped out for an amble along the river bank to give us and the old dog a bit of exercise. Half way through the walk, high in the sky we saw the tell tale vapour trail of a jetliner so even before the Evening News confirmed it could be surmised the sky’s over the UK were once again open for business.

More encouraging for those not able to head for warmer climes we also spotted the first Swallows of summer skimming low over the sink pools in the flood basin. Those that know birds will be encouraged that, not before time, warmer southerly winds cannot be far away. Swallows ride these winds on their annual migration up from Africa and even for savvy Hirundininae the risk of getting that judgement wrong are fatal.

The arrival of warmer weather will also trigger the annual scramble to dust down the sun loungers, bring the barbeque out of hibernation and stock the fridge with sausages and canned beer. Cars are loaded up with all but the kitchen sink for alfresco family picnics and thermal vests discarded in favour of fuller exposure to the warming Sun.

A risk assessment of these activities often comes low in our priorities but statistically the arrival of summer presages an increase in domestic fire related accidents and injuries.
I have given advice before on how to mitigate these risks but the basics are or should be obvious. Be prepared for the unexpected. Invest in a small powder fire extinguisher to smother an errant barbeque or picnic fire, keep the kids away from both and make sure the flames are out before you leave the scene. Like the Swallow risk preparedness and avoidance is a skill worth learning when lives may depend on it.