Fire Safety for the Summer
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In the UK, fire statistics show that on average 74,000 fires are started on grass and heath land every year. So, it is important to think about fire safety for the summer months when out and about in the sun.
Fires can be as devastating to wildlife and habitats as they are to people and property, and some simple steps, from taking care with your barbeque, electrical appliances and disposing of cigarettes and matches responsibly, can help ensure you can enjoy yourself in safety.
So, looking forward in the summer of 2018, how do we advise you and your business to keep safe from fire this summer?
Summer Fire Safety Enquiry
Many fires are caused by electrical defects and can be very dangerous if standard checks are not in place.
We all know British summertime is unpredictable, but there are occasions where our offices or working environment is not equipped to deal with a sudden heat wave. In this instance, we bring out of storage portable desk fans and portable air conditioning units in a desperate attempt to keep us cool without in-built air conditioning systems. However, remember these important safety tips:
- Never cover the air vents on portable units as this could cause overheating posing a huge fire risk.
- Don’t overload electrical sockets, extension leads or adapters. Always check the current rating of an electrical adapter or extension lead before you plug in. If you overload them they carry higher risk of overheating and potential to burst into flames.
- Check the condition of the wiring. Always look out for signs of fraying, general wear and tear or a loose plug.
- Don’t trial flexible cables under carpets or rugs. Damaged wiring could expose the wiring inside creating risks of electric shock and sparks that could cause a fire near flammable materials.
- Make sure all items have been portable appliance tested (PAT) by a qualified company.
It is tempting in hot weather to prop open doors in order to keep the air circulating.
- Fire doors are designed to keep fire at bay for a certain amount of time, so make sure you keep them closed otherwise fire could spread easily and inhibit escape.
- Never block walkways or fire escapes. It is vital they are kept clear and unobstructed at all times.
For more information on our Fire Evacuation Service, click here.
The nature of offices means there are many combustible materials lying around such as paper, waste bins and furnishings. These provide great fuel for fires. To reduce the risk it’s important to keep the office tidy. A clean desk policy is best practice to ensure potential fuel is kept to a minimum.
Also, check office furniture is made from fire resistant materials to reduce the risk of it going up in flames.
For more information on our Fire Risk Assessment Service, click here.
Risk of Arson
Whilst Arson is a risk for businesses at any time of year, hot and dry conditions are the perfect environment for a fire to take even greater hold.
So, how can you prevent ways to cut down the risk of Arson?
- Ensure you include the impact of arson in your fire risk assessment.
- Ensure external bins are kept tidy and preferably locked. Also, report accumulated or abandoned refuse to your local council. Don’t let it become target for arson.
- Protect your commercial property. Ensure your security is tight and that you have good lighting and CCTV as this helps act as a deterrent to criminals.
- Schools are often targets for arson and the impact on the local community are potentially devastating. Anti-social behaviour is often a precursor to arson, so you will need to report any incidents to your local neighborhood policing team.
- When closing down your business ensure you adopt a thorough procedure making sure all external doors and windows are locked, internal doors are closed and alarms are switched on.
UK fire statistics
- In 2016/17, 22,032 deliberate primary fires were attended by FRSs, an increase of 14 per cent since 2015/16 (19,369).
What better way to enjoy the summer months with your office colleagues than to enjoy a BBQ and drinks at the summer office party. Whilst fun is high priority it is important to ensure you are all kept fire safe and the enjoyment doesn’t turn into disaster.
- Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
- Change the gas cylinder in open air.
- When finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the BBQ to ensure any gas in the pipeline is used up.
- Only use BBQs and open fires outdoors.
- Store gas cylinders in good safe conditions.
- Do not keep gas cylinders that you do not need.
- Always keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergencies
- Make sure your BBQ site is flat and well away from buildings, fences, trees, rubbish and other combustible materials.
- Don’t overfill your BBQ with too much charcoal. Recommended depth is approx. two inches.
- Never leave your BBQ unattended.
- Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your BBQ. Only use recommended lighters or starter fuel.
- Do not dink and cook as you need your wits about you.
- When finished cooking make sure the BBQ is cold and fully extinguished before trying to move it.
- Dispose of ashes safely e.g. never out them straight into a dustbin. If they are hot they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
Fire Safety in the Countryside
The British Summer brings out a whole host of outdoors fetes, county shows, food shows and festivals. As a visitor at these events there are many fire safety tips that need to be adopted. These occasions are generally held in fields containing grass and heathland, which (in the event of hot weather) can become very dry, so if you accidentally or deliberately start a fire outdoors it will spread very quickly.
- Always remember to extinguish cigarettes or smoking materials properly.
- Only use BBQs in suitable and safe areas. Never leave them unattended and always extinguish them properly.
- Never start open fires in the countryside.
- Sunlight shining through glass can start large fires. Always dispose of glass in designated areas e.g. recycling banks.
- If you are camping or caravanning at one of these events make sure tents and caravans are kept at the appropriate distance apart.
- Make sure caravans are fitted with a smoke detector, fire blanket and dry powder fire extinguisher.
- Keep flammable liquids and gas cylinders away from tents.
- Do not cook inside your tent.
- Be prepared to cut your way out of tent in the event of fire.
- If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL.
- Find out what fire fighting arrangements are on site.
- Keep a torch handy for emergencies and never use a candle.
- If there is a fire get everyone out straight away and call 999 immediately. if possible, give a map reference or landmark to identify the location more accurately.
UK fire statistics
- There were 82,746 secondary fires (mainly outdoor fires) attended in 2016/17.
Did you know… A fire can destroy a tent in less than 60 seconds!
Flying off to the Sun!
If you’ve decided to take that well earned break from work and fly off to the sun, then make sure you take these few simple steps to reduce the risk of coming home to a real fire.
- Switch off and unplug electrical equipment.
- Turn off water at mains to prevent possible leaks coming into contact with electrical wiring causing a fire.
- Let a neighbour know you are going away and give them a key for emergencies.
- Close all doors and windows as this will slow down the progress of a fire.
Summer UK Fire Statistics
UK fire statistics published by the government, state that Secondary fires (mainly outdoor fires) made up over half of all fires attended by local authority fire and rescue services in 2016-17.
Also, there is very little seasonality evident in dwelling, other building and road vehicle fires, however outdoor fires and chimney fires showed much stronger seasonal effects. There tend to be more grassland, refuse and other outdoor fires in the summer months and these seem to reflect weather patterns.
These seasonality effects are broadly similar year on year but are affected by changes in weather patterns specific to that year, e.g. in 2015/16 the higher values were skewed towards spring/early summer with the peak in April, while in 2016/17 they were skewed towards the late summer with a peak of similar magnitude in August. Specifically:
- August experienced the most fires per day attended by FRSs in 2016/17 (an average of 579)
- The majority of fires attended per day in August 2016 were all types of outdoor fires, with the average daily rate of outdoor fires attended being 373.
- Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/
If you would like to discuss any of your fire safety requirements, please contact a member of our expert team today on 08000 234114.
Need some help?
If you are concerned about any aspect of your premises fire safety this summer, then Fire Safety Services can help your business. Call a member of our sales team on 08000 234114 or complete the form for a call back:
Summer Fire Safety Enquiry
More fire safety information on our blog
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