Remember if you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
Fire safety doesn't stop when you leave the house.
We want you to keep safe when spending time outside. With more people taking to camping, caravanning, barbecuing and general outdoor leisure, always consider the fire risks. Why not download our handy booklet to remind you of our key safety tips when you're out and about.
- Avoid open fires in the countryside. Always have them in safe, designated areas.
- Don't leave bottles or glass in woodlands. Sunlight shining through glass can start a fire. Take them home or put them in a bin.
- If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately.
- Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows as they could start a fire.
- Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
- Always follow safety instructions.
- Never use a barbecue indoors or inside a tent, the carbon monoxide that they produce can kill.
- Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
- Ensure that you site your barbecue well away from fences, sheds, trees, shrubs and garden waste.
- Only use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbeque.
- Be sure to keep children, pets and garden games away from the barbecue area.
- Do not empty ashes into dustbins or wheelie bins. If the ashes are hot they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
- Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue, only use recognised lighters or starter fuel on cold coals.
- Store gas cylinders outside and protect from direct sunlight and frost. Do not store more cylinders than you need.
- Take care when turning bottled gas barbecues on and off.
- Make sure the gas is turned off before changing the gas cylinder and always change cylinders in the open air or in a well-ventilated area.
- After cooking, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbecue control. This will stop any gas from leaking.
- Do not use the barbecue if you suspect a gas leak.
- Ensure your gas barbecue is correctly serviced and make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
Camping, glamping and caravanning safety
- Ensure caravans and tents are at least six metres apart and away from parked cars, to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
- Make sure you know the campsite's fire safety arrangements and check where the nearest telephone is.
Staying in a tent
- Never use candles in or near a tent, torches are safer.
- Keep cooking stoves and barbecues away from tent walls as they could easily set alight.
- Don't smoke inside tents.
- Make sure you know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there is a fire.
Staying in a caravan
- Fit and regularly test a smoke alarm in your caravan, optical alarms are usually most effective.
- Take special care when cooking, don't leave pans unattended.
- Turn off all appliances before you go to bed.
- Never dry clothes over the stove.
- Make sure the caravan is well ventilated to avoid a build-up of poisonous gases, never block air vents.
- Consider keeping a fire extinguisher by the entrance to your caravan, but always read the instructions before using it.
- Remove any litter and rubbish near the caravan to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
- Don't store fuel under your caravan or in direct sunlight.
- Smoking inside can be dangerous - smoke outside instead.
Using gas cylinders
- Keep flammable liquids, such as petrol and gas cylinders, outside and away from children.
- Only change gas cylinders when they are completely empty and store them away from caravans and vehicles.
- Make sure the gas pipe connection is secure. If you suspect a leak, turn off the main cylinder valve.
What to do if there is a fire
- Keep calm and get everyone out as quickly as you can.
- Call 999 and ask for the fire and rescue service and give the exact location.
- Give a map reference if possible or give a landmark such as a pub or farm.
If you are having a bonfire, whether it's to get rid of garden waste or part of a celebration, like Guy Fawkes Night, follow these simple tips to make sure you and others are safe.
Building a bonfire
- Only burn dry material. Damp material causes more smoke.
- Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees.
- Check there are no cables, like telephone wires, above the bonfire.
- Don't use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going, it may get out of control quickly.
Bonfire safety tips
- Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:
- keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, in case of emergencies
- don't leave the bonfire unattended
- keep children and pets away from the bonfire
- don't throw any fireworks into the fire
- don't burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint - many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting.
The use of Sky or Chinese lanterns is growing in popularity and they are often seen in the night sky at festivals, weddings and other celebrations. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service do not recommend their use due to the fire hazards and risks they pose to property, crops, livestock and the environment.