Stay safe this summer

I’m Dave Hughes, Head of Fire Safety and Western Area.

My role is all about keeping everyone safe and helping to prevent fires from happening in the first place.

I’d like to talk to you about some common summertime fires  - during warmer weather, the grass and vegetation is generally dry, which means if you accidentally start a fire outdoors it can spread very quickly, destroying everything in its path. Add in a light summer breeze and the fire will spread even more rapidly.

I’m sure we have all seen the dramatic photos from a number of wildfires over recent months.  Many of these fires caused multiple calls to the control room from concerned members of the public. Each small fire has the potential to tie up resources for hours and prevent us from attending other life threatening incidents elsewhere.

A flicked cigarette from a car window, a barbecue that sets fire to a hedge, or a bonfire left unattended could start a fire that destroys acres of countryside, forestry, crops and wildlife.

The controlled burning season for farmers and landowners is now over – but I am aware that some people like to dispose of rubbish or cuttings through bonfires in their back gardens over the summer months. I’d appeal to them to think carefully before doing so, and if they do go ahead, to ensure safety precautions are in place and that our control room has been notified on 01931 522 006.

Although its hard for many of us to believe, some of these grass and gorse fires are also set deliberately. Deliberate grass fires are a serious crime and will be dealt with by the full force of the law.  If you see anyone deliberately setting a fire, call the Police on 101 or contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

If the fire starts closer to home, it could destroy your garden, spread to your house and endanger the lives of those inside.  Barbecues can be enjoyable but you need to keep safety in mind when cooking outdoors – keep barbecues well away from pets and children and make sure that you dispose of the ashes safely. Many will also be enjoying a few drinks out and about as well as at home in the garden during the lighter evenings  – and I would urge that you avoid cooking after drinking, especially should you feel peckish after returning home after a night out. The best way to kill off the hunger pangs but stay safe yourself is to get a takeaway or prepare a sandwich before you go out.

So please – enjoy the sunshine but stay safe.

To keep up to date on the latest developments, find out more about fire safety competitions and be notified about any job opportunities within the Service, just follow us on Twitter @NorthwalesFire, become a fan of us on Facebook /northwalesfireservice or like us on Instagram – northwalesfire.

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