Firefighters have been spending time visiting boat owners in the Canal Basin at The Embankment Marina in Gravesend, making sure they were clued up to the risks of boat fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning afloat.
Crews went door to door, offering free smoke detectors to ensure everyone had a working smoke alarm with batteries with a ten year life. They also talked through fire escape plans with boat owners, making some think through scenarios they never consider could happen to them.
Thames-side watch manager, Julian Light, said: "The visit was about making sure owners understand the risks, make vital safety checks to avoid fire risks afloat and most importantly, have working smoke alarms on board.
"Boats contain a number of potential fire dangers, certainly more than we would find in a typical home, yet we were surprised at the number of people who didn’t have working smoke alarms.
"Boat fires can quickly get out of hand, even on water. Put passenger safety first - alarms and detectors can help keep you safe - isn’t your life and that of your family and guests worth the small investment of installing a smoke alarm?"
Crews spent time talking to boaters about the dangers of fire breaking out and the simple preventative steps they can take to reduce a fire happening in the first place.
Basic fire safety precautions include:
Smoke alarms – if you sleep aboard, you need to have a fitted and working smoke alarm
Carbon monoxide and gas detectors – these are necessary when using gas and solid fuel appliances
Fuel – only carry spare petrol if necessary. This should be stored on-deck in a self-draining locker. Never re-fuel near naked flames or with engines running
Gas – ensure appliances are properly fitted, with cylinders stored securely and upright in a self-draining locker
Electrics – ensure all systems are professionally fitted and turn off as much as possible when not on board
Fires, heaters and cooking appliances – never leave unattended when lit. Ensure flues are kept clear and the appliance well secured to a fire proof bulkheadInsurance – your boat should be fully insured and documents kept in a fire-proof container, or ashore if possible
For more advice about keeping safe from fire call its free from most landlines or visit the KFRS website.