Unfortunately, the many fun activities we associate with summer, such as barbecues and swimming, also go hand in hand with possible risks.
In this article, we have put together some advice for families, to help keep them a little safer this summer.
• Make sure barbecues are well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
• Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue.
• Never leave a barbecue or any cooking unattended.
• Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area.
• Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
• Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
• 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.
• Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue or any cooking.
Camping and caravans
• Never use candles in or near a tent, torches are safer.
• Don’t smoke inside a tent.
• Place your cooking area well away from the tent.
• Ensure caravans and tents are 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.
• Keep your cooking area clear of items that catch fire easily (flammable items), including long, dry grass.
• Never use a cooker or heater while the caravan is moving.
• Inside caravans, never block air vents. If any leaking gas builds up you may fall unconscious and be unable to escape.
• Don’t leave children alone inside caravans, and keep matches and lighters out of their reach.
• Be prepared for water fun in the summer, make sure the whole family learns to swim.
• Always supervise children in water, even if they know how to swim.
• Never enter water after drinking alcohol.
• When researching your holiday, or arriving at the destination, check the safety arrangements of any water based activities and if there is lifeguard cover at the pool/beach.
• Inflatable dinghies or lilos are a well-known hazard. Each year there are drownings as people on inflatables are blown out to sea. Do not use them in open water.
• Do not swim near to or dive from rocks, piers, breakwater or coral.
• On beaches, check when the tide will be high and low, and make sure you won’t be cut off from the beach exit by the rising tide. Also, be aware of dangerous rip currents.
• Check bathing sites for hazards, check the safest places to swim and always read the signs – find out what local warning signs and flags mean.
For more information about outdoor summer safety, visit: www.northantsfire.org.uk and click on ‘safety’ or visit www.rlss.org.uk