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Be safe this summer 2 June 2008

Be safe when having a barbecueTHE Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service is highlighting its summer safety message as people start to head outdoors to enjoy the better weather.

Officers have warned that motor homes, campsites and barbecues can become fire hazards if safety advice is ignored. A moment’s carelessness can also have a devastating effect on the Manx countryside, with discarded cigarette ends or glass bottles having the potential to spark small fires that can spread very quickly.

Minister for Home Affairs Martyn Quayle MHK said:

‘We want people to get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine in a safe and responsible way. The Fire and Rescue Service does an excellent job in highlighting its prevention and protection campaigns which play a major part in reducing the number of emergency call-outs. By following some sensible advice, members of the public can help to prevent any unnecessary incidents or at least ensure they are well prepared in the event of an accident.’

The recent spell of warm weather has encouraged people to head out into their gardens or favourite beauty spots to light up a barbecue. And the Fire Service is using the arrival of the TT Festival and onset of summer to remind budding outdoor chefs of some basic safety tips.

Community Fire Safety Officer Carl Kinvig said:

‘If you are having a barbecue make sure all the equipment is in good working order and, if it’s a gas device, that it has been serviced regularly. Make sure your barbecue is positioned on level ground and well away from any trees or shrubs. Never leave it unattended and keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of emergencies. When you have finished wait until the barbecue has cooled down before you try to move it.’

Similarly, a list of practical guidelines can minimise the risk of fire breaking out at campsites around the Island – many of which will be full to capacity during TT. Campers are instructed to pitch their tents at least six metres away from any others as this gap will help to prevent flames from spreading. People should also refrain from cooking, smoking or using a naked flame inside a tent.

And those who intend to spend the night under canvass are advised to always have a good idea of their whereabouts. Sub Officer Kinvig said:

‘In the event of a fire you should get everybody out straight away, call the Fire Service and give your exact location. If you are not staying at a designated campsite and are not sure of your surroundings, try to provide a landmark such as a pub, farm or church. A map reference can also be used by operators at the emergency control room to pinpoint your location.’

People staying in camper vans, motor homes or caravans should also follow fire safety advice and ensure their vehicle is fitted with a smoke and carbon monoxide detector. And walkers out enjoying coastal footpaths, glens, plantations or hillsides have been reminded of their responsibilities.

Sub Officer Kinvig said:

‘If you are out and about in the country be aware that a cigarette end, a discarded bottle or small fire can end up causing a devastating fire. This can put both human and animal life in danger and cause untold damage to the countryside as well as potentially destroying a farmer’s livelihood.’

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