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Open land fire safety inspections 16 June 2008

Firefighters deal with open land fireLANDOWNERS are being urged to take advantage of free fire safety inspections. And farmers can also benefit from expert advice about the risks posed by potential fire hazards such as fertilizers and stored gas cylinders.

Open land inspections are carried out by members of the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Community Fire Officers are keen to stress that safety guidelines are just as important in the countryside as they are in the home or workplace.

And the promotion of the outdoor safety message is a key consideration in the summer months when incidents are more likely to occur. Gorse fires are a particular danger and often lead to the deployment of firefighters in Pinzgauer all-terrain vehicles.

The aim of the Fire Service campaign is to ensure that open land is managed correctly in order to protect human life, livestock, property and the environment. While there is no statutory obligation on landowners or tenants to undergo fire safety inspections, the advice on offer could help to prevent serious incidents.

Minister for home Affairs Martyn Quayle MHK said:

‘The Isle of Man 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 their advice, landowners will help to minimise the risk of fires that can have a devastating impact on the Manx countryside.’

Sub officer Carl Kinvig added:

‘Historically when we think of fire safety, we think of the home, office or factory. But outdoor safety is just as important. Land managers and farmers very often have a lot of the skills and knowledge to manage their land efficiently, but it is sometimes a good idea to have a fresh point of view which may highlight something that has been missed or overlooked. In the right conditions fires on open land can spread extremely quickly and are inherently unpredictable and dangerous.’

It is also hoped that farmers will take the opportunity to review safety measures to ensure they are aware of fire hazards – particularly those which may be unique to the rural working environment. Sub officer Kinvig said:

‘Farms present specific risks to fire crews attending an incident from such things as fertilizers and stored gas cylinders. These inspections are not only beneficial to the land owner or farmer, but also to the Fire Service. Risks and hazards identified during inspections can be stored on computer so that in the event of an incident the Emergency Services Joint Control Room, which mobilises the crews, can relay valuable information to the officer in charge.’

To request a free open land or farm inspection call the IoM Fire and Rescue Service on 647329 or contact officers via the website at www.iomfire.com Alternatively, write to Fire Headquarters, Elm Tree House, Elm Tree Road, Onchan, IM3 4EF.

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