News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is asking parents to remind their children of the dangers of acting irresponsibly while out with friends during the Easter holidays.
While many outdoor fires start accidentally, others are lit intentionally by youths curious about fire. Grassland fires can spread at alarming speeds and change direction just as quickly, destroying wildlife habitats and putting nearby people and property in danger. Those firefighters who attend these incidents also become unavailable to respond to potentially life-threatening house fires or car crashes.
Anyone caught setting fires maliciously also faces the possibility of a huge fine or prison sentence.
It’s not just fires that are a concern, every year crews are called to assist young people who have gotten into difficulty while swimming in rivers and lakes. Open waterways often contain hidden dangers such as strong currents or rubbish which can quickly cause problems for even the most experienced swimmers.
With the recent flooding river banks may also be more treacherous underfoot then before so parents are therefore encouraged to ask their children to stay out of rivers, lakes, and quays unless these areas are patrolled by lifeguards.
KFRS Community Safety Manager, Charlie Smith, said: “While we want people to enjoy their Easter break staying safe while outdoors should remain a priority at all times. Although some parents may not want to frighten their children with discussions such as these it’s surely better that they are fully aware of the dangers before setting off with their friends for a day out.
“A major problem for us is young people deliberately setting fires so, if you are a parent; we urge you to warn children of the dangers of fire, as well as keeping matches and lighters out of their reach and ensure that they are supervised when playing outside.”
Help prevent outdoor fires during the school holidays by:
Don't light fires in the countryside or drop litter which could be set fire to
Don't accumulate rubbish which can act as potential fuel for deliberate fire setters
Contact your local district or borough council to ask about disposal of unwanted furniture, or to report abandoned vehicles or fly tipped waste
Extinguish bonfires and barbecues properly
Keep matches and lighters out of the way of young people (especially young children) and remind them that they are not toys
If you are a parent you are strongly advised not to leave youngsters to wander in the countryside unsupervised. Ensure that they are aware of the dangers of fire
Report any information on fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously if need be) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Follow these tips to help keep your family safe around water:
Don’t jump or dive in as the water can be far deeper then it looks – with unseen hazards.
Never swim near weirs or locks as there are unusually dangerous currents.
Inland waters can be very cold, no mater how warm the weather. Be aware that this can quickly cause cramp and breathing difficulties.
Swimming in unclean water can cause illness
For further advice on how to keep you, your family or a neighbour safe from fire call Kent Fire and Rescue Service for free on 0800 923 7000 or go to www.3breaths.info for further information.