Fire service calls for stop to unnecessary bonfires during pandemic

DORSET & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is again asking local people to avoid having bonfires and to be extra careful if taking exercise on heathland over the coming Easter weekend.

Over a four-hour period on Easter Saturday, the service received 21 calls regarding fires in the open. Nearly all of these were bonfires that were not essential, which is wasting valuable resources that maybe needed to save lives.

The service is also keen to reduce the number of calls it has to attend, in order to minimise potential exposure of firefighters to coronavirus.

Area Manager Ian Jeary said: “We are still responding to emergencies, but the very nature of the firefighter’s job makes social distancing almost impossible. As such, we are asking the public to take even more care than usual, to help us stay safe and therefore stay available for when our vital support is needed the most.”

Some of the ways people can reduce their risk of fire are:

  • Not having bonfires at home if possible; and if they do have bonfires, having them away from fencing, hedges etc and always staying in attendance with a garden hose to hand.
  • Taking extra care if having barbecues, and not disposing of the ashes until they are completely cold.
  • Never leaving cooking unattended in the kitchen.
  • Taking care not to overload sockets – easy to do when working from home or trying to keep children occupied.
  • Being careful of leaving matches or lighters lying about when children are in the house.
  • Only smoking outdoors if possible and disposing of cigarette ends, matches etc carefully. If smoking indoors, make sure ashtrays are on a secure, level surface.
  • If you’re smoking while making an essential car journey, don’t throw cigarette ends or matches out of the window, as this could lead to grass fires.
  • While enjoying exercise outside in the sunshine, please follow all the Government advice but also avoid doing anything that may lead to a fire starting.

 Fire safety tips for indoors and outdoors can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/safety

 Also on the Service website are a range of fun activities and educational resources to entertain children during the coronavirus lockdown. The ‘C19 Heroes’ are on hand to help children understand the importance of hand-washing, staying at home, keeping fit and healthy, and looking out for others.

Amongst the activities already online are colouring sheets, spot the difference games, fitness videos and regular ‘glue and make’ sessions, including finger puppets and paper plate hats!

All of this can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/education with new games also highlighted through the Service’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok accounts @DWFireRescue.

Woodmead Halls
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