News release text
Crews are calling on parents to ensure their kids are aware that staying safe while enjoying the long summer holidays can be as easy as child’s play.
While it’s great being out in the mild weather, it’s a sad reality that Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is called out to rescue children in difficulty during the summer season.
Young people are often fascinated by fire and this becomes a danger during the dryer months. Grass fires are frequent and are often the result of children and teenagers experimenting with fire. From watching the barbecue being lit in the garden to their first camping trip in the great outdoors, a combination of curiosity and inexperience can often put them at risk.
While the number of rubbish and grassland fires were down last year between May and September (1042 in 2012 compared to 1853 in 2011), these callouts accounted for over half of all the fires KFRS attended last summer.
KFRS Community Safety Manager Stuart Skilton said: “Obviously we want people to enjoy the summer but every year thousands of acres of countryside, crops, and wildlife habitats are destroyed by fire. While some of the incidents are due to deliberate fire-setters, many are actually started accidently due to carelessness.
“Grassland fires have the potential to spread extremely quickly and can divert crews away from other incidents, such as road crashes or house fires, where lives may be in danger.”
Stuart added: “Outdoor waterways also pose a significant danger at this time of year. It’s natural to want to cool down in the heat but young people are often unaware of the hazards associated with open water. Whether it’s the unknown depth of a stream or the hidden currents near lochs and weirs, things can quickly go wrong.
“We are therefore appealing to parents to sit down with their children and talk about summer safety at the start of the holidays.”
Keep your family safer this summer by following our golden rules:
Adults set a good example – behave safely and responsibly!
Never use accelerants such as petrol on barbecues
Never leave a barbeque unattended
Never cook or smoke inside tents
Always make sure cigarettes are properly extinguished
Never leave lighters or matches around – they can be a temptation to children
If you are worried about your child’s interest in fire contact us about our Fire Setters Team.
Be aware of your children’s limitations – e.g. how confident are they in the water?
Don't jump or dive in, as the water can be far deeper than it looks - with unseen hazards.
Never swim near weirs or locks as there are usually dangerous currents
Even inland waters can be very cold, no matter how warm the weather. Be aware that this can quickly cause cramp and breathing difficulties.