Plea to take extra care during second significant hot spell of the summer

Rob Barber

Staffordshire is now under an amber extreme heat warning and heatwave conditions are expected to continue through the weekend, with The Met Office forecasting highs of 33°C.

The news has prompted a warning from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to ensure people stay safe while enjoying the weather as long periods of hot and dry weather conditions can greatly increase the risk of grass fires.

Although anything that is burning can start a grass fire, common causes include carelessly discarded cigarettes or matches and rubbish left lying around such as glass bottles in direct sunlight. To reduce the risk of fire make sure your rubbish is safely thrown away and cigarettes are properly disposed of.

Disposable barbecues are also a serious concern for fire crews as if they are left unattended or not disposed of safely they could result in a wildfire, especially when grass is tinder dry.

Chief Fire Officer, Rob Barber said: “Disposable barbecues should never be used in the countryside and across popular beauty spots within the county. They can easily spread, especially in such dry conditions, and can quickly escalate into a dangerous and uncontainable wildfire.

“They should never be left unattended and should not be used when the person in-charge is consuming alcohol.

“If you do decide to use a disposable barbecue at home – ensure it is situated away from buildings, fences, trees or shrubs and make sure they are put right out and cooled before being thrown away.

“Grass fires can spread extremely fast so if you see dry grass smouldering, please call 999 and report it immediately.”

Firefighters are also warning residents not to risk their safety for a cooling swim.

He added: “Open water may look tempting but there can be lots of hidden hazards – It’s usually deeper, colder and more dangerous than it looks. Even the strongest swimmers can get into difficulties, with a serious risk of cold water shock and drowning.

“Please take the time to talk to your children about water safety so that they understand the risks, look out for their friends and know what to do in an emergency. There is a range of helpful resources on our website.”

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