With ‘staycationing’ on the increase due to Covid-19 restrictions preventing many people from travelling overseas, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is urging everyone to follow their simple advice to stay safe this summer.
Paddy Gallagher, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:
“This summer season in particular presents different challenges for us to deal with, as many people are choosing to holiday at home rather than travel overseas, and we want to ensure that the community is aware of how to keep themselves safe.
“By following our simple safety advice, acting responsibly and remaining vigilant to danger, we can all work together to help prevent fire and accidents.”
Health Minister Robin Swann said:
“As we move into the summer months and look forward to holidays, many people will plan activities involving barbecues, camping, boats and caravanning. Whilst enjoying these activities, I would urge people to follow safety advice from our fire service.
“Please take necessary precautions to protect the environment and keep everyone safe. I would also urge people to continue to abide by the public health advice and COVID-19 restrictions. This is how we protect ourselves and others. Please stay safe, vigilant and maintain social distancing.”
NIFRS has highlighted key advice to follow to help everyone make sure their summer doesn’t end in tragedy this year.
NIFRS Group Commander Suzanne Fleming said:
“When staying in an unfamiliar environment, such as an apartment or caravan, make sure to have working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan. In a caravan, don’t dry clothes next to a heater; turn off gas when not in use and store fuel six metres away from your caravan or mobile home and away from heat.
“If camping, tents should be pitched at least 6 metres apart from other tents, always cook outside and well away from your tent and don’t cook near flammable materials or long grass. Always store flammable liquids or gas cylinders away from the tent.
“When on a boat fit a smoke alarm, make a fire action plan and ensure everyone on board is aware of what to do if there is a fire. Fit a fire extinguisher in the engine compartment and the cockpit locker, and contain and vent battery boxes.
“We’re also reminding people when barbecuing to make sure your barbecue site is flat and away from fences, trees, shrubs and sheds, to never leave a barbecue unattended and never barbecue while under the influence of alcohol.
“The number of gorse and wildfires we attend can increase over the summer and many are started deliberately- please be vigilant over the coming months and any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police immediately.
“If you’re near water, please act responsibly and always take basic safety precautions. When swimming at the beach, pay close attention to any warning signs or safety flags. Whenever possible, swim at a beach with a lifeguard. Seek advice about water conditions and where it’s safe to swim - you need more energy to handle the currents and other changing conditions.”