Fire service issue warning about use of sky lanterns
With the end of school approaching and various summer celebrations taking place across the two counties, Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) would like to warn people about the dangers of using sky lanterns to celebrate.
Area Commander Mark Preece said: "Whilst we appreciate that sky lanterns can be picturesque, they can also be extremely dangerous. When they finally do land on the ground it's quite possible that they could result in a fire, which as we have seen from the Croft Farm Water Park fire back in 2013, and can have devastating consequences.
"Furthermore, sky lanterns also pose a significant risk to livestock and could start a serious fire if they come into contact with standing crops which may be very dry in this period of hot weather.
"We strongly discourage the use of sky lanterns and urge people to take extra care if they do decide to use them."
As well as warning the public about the use of sky lanterns, HWFRS is also reminding people to stay safe around open water during the heatwave and also take extra care outdoors so as to minimise the risk of outdoor fires. It is recommended that the public take note of the following advice:
- Only light BBQs where they are permitted - in suitable and safe areas; never leave them unattended
- Never use petrol on a BBQ, it can ignite quickly and soon get out of control. Only use approved lighting fuels
- Never leave fires unattended and make sure they are fully extinguished after use
- Extinguish cigarettes properly, don't throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows
- Take your rubbish with you, especially glass bottles, which can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire as well as hurt people and animals
- Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe designated areas
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately by calling 999. Early detection can prevent it from developing into a large wildfire incident
- Don't attempt to tackle fires that can't be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible
- Don't jump or dive into open water unless you know the depth. Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible and can cause serious impact injuries
- Be aware that there may be strong currents in open water, even where the surface of the water appears calm. Don't go near weirs, locks, pipes and sluices
- Take notice of warning signs, safety information or flags near the water's edge
- Water can be very cold even in the summer causing cramp and breathing difficulties which can affect everyone regardless of their swimming ability
- Keep away from the river's edge and closely supervise young children at all times
- Wear the recommended safety equipment for your planned water activities, e.g. life jackets/helmets
- Be warned - airbeds, etc. can be carried into deep water and may not keep you afloat
- Alcohol and swimming should never be mixed- consuming alcohol may impair your ability and judgment
Further safety advice can be found at www.hwfire.org.uk