Firefighters and police working together to keep communities safe as EURO 2024 approaches

We’re working closely with our colleagues at Staffordshire Police to step up our efforts to keep people safe in the build-up to the European championships.

Fans across the country are expected to pack out local venues and host from their homes for the eagerly anticipated match against Serbia on Sunday evening (16 June).

Whether you’re expecting football to finally come home or for an early exit from the tournament, firefighters and police officers are on-hand to make sure everyone has a summer to remember, for the right reasons. 

We want everyone to enjoy this period, but we’re also expecting an increased demand on emergency services across the country.

These risks involve the potential for wildfires from barbecues, cooking fires fuelled by increased alcohol consumption, anti-social behaviour, drink driving and localised crime.

It’s never easy to predict British weather, but we’re planning for more demand on our services as we expect an increase in gatherings and barbecues at home, large groups socialising and busy town centres across Staffordshire. The hotter the weather means a greater risk of fires spreading rapidly and the temptation to cool off in open water, where we often see people get into difficulty with tragic outcomes.

In the last three years, we responded to 333 accidental outdoor fires in Stoke-on-Trent, 168 in East Staffordshire and 140 in the Moorlands – all of which could have been avoided.

We’ve been working alongside Staffordshire Police to put plans in place to reduce the risk of fires and crime. Our Prevention teams and operational crews are going to be visiting popular beauty spots, making sure people are using barbecues safely and the hazards are minimised as much as possible. Police officers are going to be patrolling busy areas, speaking with people and adopting a friendly but firm approach to make sure we keep people safe.

We’re also launching the Summer of 24’ campaign to coincide with the tournament, which will run throughout the summer after the football has finished.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Michelle Hickmott and Stoke-on-Trent-based firefighter Rachel Unitt both know what it takes to represent England on the global stage, having both put on the three lion’s shirt at full-back in their respective professional careers.

ACFO Hickmott said: “We want people to enjoy the summer as much as possible, but we’re also asking that people take all of the necessary steps to limit the chances of accidents happening in Staffordshire.

“Open barbecues at home or in public might be appealing, but paired with the distractions of the football and alcohol, can have fatal consequences for those involved and the people in the area.

“Equally, the temptation to cool off or go into open water can lead to serious complications, and sadly, loss of life.

“Lots of popular beauty spots in Staffordshire still have existing barbecue bans, like Cannock Chase, and we’re urging people to take extra care to make sure accidental fires don’t happen in what is expected to be a busy period for emergency services.

“Don’t cook if you’re drinking, dispose of barbecues safely and be aware of the risks in entering open water.  

“By looking out for one another and being aware of the risks, we can make sure we keep our communities as safe as possible during this summer period whilst we enjoy the European championships.”

To read a full list of important barbecue safety tips, visit: BBQ safety (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)

For tips on how to stay safe around open water, visit: Water safety (staffordshirefire.gov.uk)

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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding.

In an emergency call 999. General enquiries call 0300 330 1000.

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