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Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service

Outdoor
Safety
.

If You See A Fire Outside...

A flame

Do not attempt to take on the fire - dial 999 immediately

A map

Help us find the fire by providing a map reference or a landmark

A ruler

Help us by estimating the size of the area that is burning

A mountain

Describe the terrain.

Help us by describing the terrain

An arrow leaving a box

Evacuate the area as soon as possible

Using a Chimenea or fire pit to keep warm? Please follow our advice to stay safe. 

We want you to enjoy these winter days so when the temperature drops most people find themselves huddled round a warm fire in their garden to keep the chill out. 

 

Using a chimenea is much safer than having an open fire in your garden, as they enclose the majority of the flame, however people need to realise that the heat and flames from them can still be dangerous if they are used incorrectly. 

 

If you are using a chimenea please ensure:

  • The set-up is safe - avoid placing your chimenea on decking or near trees and structures. Also make sure that it is stable and secure on its stand to minimise the risk of it falling over. 

  • Never use chemicals such as petrol to start your fire, instead use kindling to create small fire and then slowly add the larger wood. 

  • The chimenea has a fire guard, if it did not come with one, you can easily make one yourself using mesh wire. The guard will then prevent any hot embers escaping and possibly burning someone. 

  • Make sure children are properly supervised and warn your guests of the dangers too. 

  • Only build small fires - a chimenea is designed for small fires, not big ones, so if you see flames coming out of the chimney or mouth it is too big. 

  • Someone stays to watch it burn - never leave any fire unattended, whether it is a barbecue or in a chimenea. 

  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the fire.

  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or garden hose nearby. 

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Annually, fires destroy thousands of acres of countryside in the UK. Some of these fires can become wildfires and can be significant in size. Wildfires can damage property and the environment, and they can pose a significant risk to people and vital infrastructure. 
 
The risk of fires in the countryside is high, members of the Northumberland Fire Group will display extreme fire risk notices on footpaths and in car park areas.  
 
If you see a notice, please exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant. If you see a fire, call 999 immediately and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service. 

 

You can help us to reduce the likelihood of wildfires by following these simple precautions: 

 

Always: 
 

  • extinguish all campfires and barbecues properly 

  • dispose of all smoking material properly, ensuring it is completely extinguished 

  • take any litter home with you 

  • clear away any bottles, glasses and any unbroken glass – magnification from sun rays could cause a fire 

Never: 
 

  • leave campfires or barbecues unattended and always extinguish them properly after use 

  • dispose of hot ash from campfires or barbeques as this can cause fires. Wait for ash to cool before disposal. 

  • light a campfire or barbecue if you have seen an extreme fire risk notice 

  • use a flying lantern (also known as Chinese, wish or sky lantern) 

If you see a fire in the countryside, call 999 immediately. 

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Keep you, your family and friends safe when you use a barbecue by following these simple steps: 

 

Always: 

  • ensure the barbecue is placed on a flat surface, at least 10 metres away from buildings, fences, trees and shrubs 

  • keep water nearby in case of an emergency 

  • in the countryside, please use designated areas only and do not use a barbecue if you see an extreme fire risk notice 

  • keep children, pets and games away from the cooking area 

Never: 

  • light a barbecue indoors 

  • leave a barbecue unattended 

  • use petrol or paraffin to start/revive a barbecue 

  • move a barbecue into a caravan or tent 

  • move a hot barbecue – ensure it is cool before moving it 

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Follow our simple steps to ensure the safety of you, your family and friends when camping in tent or staying in a caravan. 
 

Always: 

  • ensure there is a water supply nearby and know where the firefighting equipment is located on site 

  • identify the nearest telephone, in case you need to use it in an emergency 

  • ensure everyone knows how to escape from the caravan or tent, and where they should go once they have escaped 

  • ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars 

  • keep a torch handy to help you see in the dark. Never use candles while camping. 
     

Never: 

  • leave children unaccompanied in a caravan – they are particularly vulnerable 

  • ​leave food cooking unattended 

  • dry clothes over a stove 

  • store fuel under your caravan or in direct sunlight 

  • use a barbecue inside a caravan or tent 

  • cook inside a tent as they are flammable and fire will spread extremely fast 

  • use candles while camping. Keep a torch handy. 

  • smoke inside a caravan or tent 
     

If you are staying in a caravan: 

  • install a smoke alarm. Caravans are confined spaces, so it is vital you get an early warning of a fire.  

  • ​ensure there is a fire blanket near the cooking area 

  • consider placing a fire extinguisher near the caravan entrance, but always read the instructions before use 

  • turn off all appliances before you go to bed 

  • ensure the caravan is well ventilated and never block air vents 
     

If you are staying in a tent: 
 

  • ensure there is at least six metres spacing between tents and parked vehicles 

  • ensure you have the means to cut a way out of the tent if you need to escape in an emergency  

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Be water aware 

Drowning is amongst the leading causes of accidental death in the UK. We want to make people safer by making them aware of the risks and dangers when around water, what to do if they fall into water and how to help someone who is in trouble in water.

 

Dangers - open water

  • The water may look calm on the surface, but there can be strong undercurrents that could pull even a strong swimmer under the water. 

  • The water may feel warm on the surface, but just a few feet below the surface it can be icy cold.  The cold water can affect stamina and strength of swimmers. 

 

What to do if someone falls into deep water 

 

If you spot someone in trouble in the water: 

 

  • Call 999 to inform Northumberland and Rescue Service.  If you don't have a phone shout for help - but do not enter the water. 

  • Encourage the person in the water to try and float on their back - and if there is rescue equipment nearby throw it to them. 

Never ever enter the water to try and save someone. This usually ends up adding to the problem.  If you go into the water you are likely to suffer from cold water shock which will leave you unable to help even if you are a strong swimmer. 

What to do if YOU fall into deep water - FLOAT 

  • If you fall into deep water, you should lie on your back and FLOAT 

  • Fight the instinct to panic or swim - it's better to just FLOAT. 

  • Lie back and keep your airways clear, push your stomach up and extend your limbs moving hands and feet to help you FLOAT. 

  • Try to take and control the effects of cold water shock such as the gasping reflex. Once your breathing is controlled call for help and if possible try making your way towards safety 

Key safety tips for staying safe near water 

  • Alcohol and swimming do not mix - stay out of the water if you have been drinking. 

  • Never let older children swim in unsupervised areas like quarries, canals or ponds. 

  • Never interfere with lifesaving equipment - you might need it yourself. 

  • Swimming anywhere other than at purpose built and supervised swimming pools is highly dangerous and is not recommended, unless as part of an organised club.   

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