Outdoor fire safety is about thinking ahead and not creating the chance for fires to start in the first place. Fire and Safety Centre offers outdoor fire safety tips that will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors without setting fire to the countryside in the process.
There’s something primeval about fire. The crackling of burning wood and the dancing flames always seem to reach out to something inside us, which is why there is so much appeal to sitting around a camp fire and looking deep into the flames.
These days there are more ways than ever to awaken those deep-seated inner connections; an old-fashioned scout campfire, a fire pit or chiminea bought from the garden centre, or a squadron of paper sky lanterns.
But it’s this last item that shows just how dangerous fire can be out of doors. Setting light to something made of paper and launching it to the sky, to end up who knows where, is a recipe for trouble. And trouble does happen, more often than not out of sight and mind of the fire starters.
Fire fighters put out an average of more than 130 fires on grass and heathland somewhere in the UK every day, and have done for the last decade – that’s almost half a million fires. Not all are caused by sky lanterns, but the startling numbers serve to illustrate the point. And those numbers don’t include fires involving straw bales, which regularly go up in smoke.
The dangers in pictures
The pictures accompanying this post illustrate the dangers of fire outdoors. The daytime bonfire is clearly too close to a lot of other potential fuel, and it appears to be windy, so flames could easily be driven beyond the confines of the dry wood; and the couple by the fireside are no doubt enjoying the moment, but where are those embers going, carried aloft by the fire’s heat? One landing on that tent would destroy it in seconds.
Naturally, it’s during the summer that we have more chances to go outdoors. Camping and caravanning increase in popularity during the summer, and there are lots of opportunities to attend shows and festivals. Just about every one of them could involve drinking alcohol, which puts people at greater risk of being careless, so here are our top tips for making the most of the great outdoors without causing a fire.
Fifteen top outdoor fire safety tips
1. Never start a fire in open countryside
2. Don’t discard bottles or glass in woods or grassland. The sun’s rays can be focused into a spot hot enough to start a fire
3. If you see a countryside fire, call 999 at once
4. Never throw cigarettes or matches from car windows; put them out before leaving the car
5. Don’t use candles in tents or caravans
6. Don’t cook inside your tent
7. Don’t dry damp clothes over a stove
8. Never smoke in your sleeping bag, no matter how cold it is outside
9. Never leave your barbecue unattended
10. When barbecuing, have a bucket of water handy. Small fire extinguishers are a worthwhile investment, and are not expensive. You might also consider this home and leisure safety pack, which has an extinguisher and a fire blanket (fire blankets are available separately, and are arguably one of the most cost-effective fire fighting tools you can buy) . Filled with sand or Flamezorb this fire bucket is also a cool accessory to have around, and is bound to be a talking point amongst your guests
11. Don’t use petrol or paraffin to start the Barbie
12. Don’t barbecue near sheds, fences, or under trees
13. Make sure you have a fully-charged phone to call the emergency services wherever possible
14. Don’t keep gas cylinders inside caravans
15. Don’t use gas heaters inside your tent – the fumes could kill you even if there isn’t a fire
These summer fire safety tips are not exhaustive and we welcome any further suggestions. Enjoy your summer and stay fire safe.