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People reminded about fire safety in the countryside ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

April 1 2021

The sun looks likely to be in a constant battle with heavy cloud cover this Easter weekend, but temperatures look to be fairly positive before a dip on Monday (5 April).

And as the government’s coronavirus pandemic restrictions begin to ease Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to take care when out and about in the countryside and prevent the number of accidental fires needing to be attended.

Known as secondary fires, they range from outdoor bin fires and smouldering camp fires to small grass or woodland fires.

Mark Downes, one of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevent Delivery Leads, said: “Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service wants our community to enjoy the outdoors. But more importantly, we want them to enjoy it safely without putting others at risk.

“Every year fires are responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of countryside. There are a lot of things that you can avoid doing to help prevent them.”

Tips from the fire service include:

  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly and disposed of in dedicated bins
  • Take your rubbish home or put it in a nearby bin
  • Don’t leave glass bottles lying on the ground. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire
  • Don’t have open fires or barbeques in the countryside – they can easily set fire to the ground and spread. Please note that there is a total ban on the use of a barbecue or in setting a campfire on all Forestry Commission Land – Cannock Chase included
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children and young peoples’ reach and talk to them about the dangers of starting fires outside

Mark added: “If you find a fire in the countryside or in any outdoor space don’t attempt to tackle it, call 999 and ask for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service immediately."

He also suggested installing the ‘What 3 Words’ app onto your smart phones which can be used in an emergency situation to pass on your location to call takers so they can locate you as quickly and accurately as possible.

When someone is calling in about an incident they can give the location information to the control room using the three words either on signs placed in some beauty spots or that come up in the app. The incident can then be located immediately using tracking software and given to attending crews in the hope of saving time and lives.

“Pass on as much information about the location as possible, use the What 3 Words app if you have it to pinpoint the exact spot,” Mark added. “If you see a campfire or barbecue which has spread to the ground or surrounding area then please call 999 immediately.

“We need your eyes to assist us in keeping our community safe. Please share our safety tips with your friends and family and should you observe any of the behaviours listed above or observe any suspicious behaviour please report it to the independent charity CrimeStoppers anonymously or Staffordshire Police."