Think safe this holiday season, firefighters urge

Firefighters want residents to ensure homes are left as protected from fire as possible, by having working smoke alarms fitted, which would alert neighbours, and closing all internal doors to can help prevent the spread of fire and reduce damage.

Making sure vehicles are roadworthy

They advise checking vehicles are road-worthy before setting out on a journey by assessing tyre pressures and tread depth and fluid levels are topped up, including windscreen washer liquid; coolant and oil, to help avoid potential accidents that defects and incorrect levels could cause.

Often driving on holiday can involve a trip after a long flight and firefighters advise all motorists to allow plenty of time for a trip; to plan a journey and to schedule in breaks and sharing driving, to help prevent fatigue and road traffic collisions that it can cause.

Firefighters also warn swimmers to use supervised locations where lifeguards are present and not to swim in open water, as it can be extremely cold, have hidden currents and sudden depth changes.

Those caravanning and camping should ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres away from parked cars and that people do not smoke whilst in bed or in a tent.

Safety tips on cooking outdoors

People cooking outdoors are asked to use a barbeque or a gas stove instead of an open fire to help contain flames and make sure the surrounding area is clear from items such as tents, fences or trees, which can catch fire easily.

Other tips for those using barbeques include:

  • Not taking a smouldering or lit barbeque into a tent, caravan or cabin, as doing so will give off fumes for several hours after use
  • Not taking a barbeque inside to keep people warm
  • Never leave a lit barbeque unattended or while sleeping
  • Remembering signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea and loss of consciousness

Enjoy the summer, but be safe

Stuart Garner, Home and Community Safety Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service wants everybody to have a safe and enjoyable summer holiday whether they are staying here or going abroad.

"It is important however to take a few minutes to think about leaving your house as safe as is possible from fire, so there are no nasty surprises when people return from holiday. It's an idea to turn off non-essentially electrical appliances, to help potential fires and if practical, gas and water supplies.

"Emptying rubbish bins and ashtrays reduces the amount of flammable material in a home and leaving a house key with a relative, neighbour or friend gives householders peace of mind knowing that somebody is watching a property.

"It also makes sense for people when on holiday to familiarise themselves with fire instructions displayed at their accommodation or campsite and also to use barbeques in a safe way."

Driving tips

Mick Clarke, Road Safety Manager for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Going on holiday can mean a lot of driving, whether it is from an airport after a long flight or travelling a long distance in this country. I would recommend to people to consider staying overnight near the airport or get a bus or taxi to it, if they have an early or late departure of return, to avoid potential accidents caused by fatigue.

"I would also advise drivers to make sure their vehicles are road-worthy before setting off for a journey. This means checking things such as tyre pressures and tread depth and making sure fluid levels are at the correct levels, to help avoid accidents that defective tyres or incorrect oil or windscreen washer levels can cause."