COLUMN: Tips for a safe and fun-packed summer

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As I write this column we are currently part-way through what seems to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, weeks so far this year.

Whose to tell how long it will last, and whether or not it will still be so hot when this is published, but with temperatures reaching their 20s it would be fair to say that we’ve already been given a taste of summer.

With this in mind, I felt it would be a good opportunity to touch on a few important safety points as we enter those warmer months. To start, I’ll go with one of the first things on many people’s minds when the sun come out – the classic barbecue.

There’s obviously nothing quite like eating outside with friends and family, so I’m of course not trying to stop people having barbecues altogether – but there’s no doubt that if not handled correctly they can be a potential fire hazard.

My message is therefore that if you are going to have one, please enjoy yourself, but make sure you enjoy yourself safely. If you do choose to have a barbecue, don’t leave it unmanned and keep a bucket of water, or a garden hose, nearby in case a fire does break out.

Additionally, make sure it is positioned on a flat surface, off any grass and away from fences, trees and sheds. Keep the kids, and pets, away from it at all times and one last barbecue request from me – please don’t use paraffin or other accelerants to light the coals, or even to try and revive them.

Moving on, I would also ask that you take care when out and about in the countryside too. There’s nothing quite like a nice walk on a warm day, but there are a few things to be wary of as you take in some of our amazing scenery.

Firstly, if you smoke – please ensure that you dispose of cigarettes carefully. Just the simple act of discarding a partially lit cigarette butt can spark a fire that not only damages the countryside and ties up fire and rescue service resources, but also puts a local farm out of business.

Secondly, avoid open fires in the country as much as possible – as these can easily spread and cause similarly bad damage to that already mentioned.

Thirdly, and finally, please be careful when disposing of glass bottles or other glass items. We’ve attended a number of incidents previously where fires have started after glass items intensified the sun’s rays – something else that can cause serious damage.

By taking all of this advice I hope that you can not only stay safe, but also have a fantastic summer.