The countdown has now started to the Christmas and New Year holiday period. We want to see everybody having a safe and joyous time but would like to remind people of a few rules that need to be adhered to if you are planning outdoor fires. We don't like to spoil people's fun but if we are called to an outdoor fire and the correct procedures have not been followed then we are required to extinguish the fire.
Currently it is a RESTRICTED SEASON. Restricted season means that no fire may be lit in the open air without a permit. A permit is required for all outdoor burning, other than gas barbecues and incinerators, at any time of the year. All new permit applications must be applied for at least two weeks prior to the event and are subject to a site safety inspection. No fires are permitted on beaches and no fires are allowed to remain alight after dark except those specifically issued for bonfires at New Year, Guy Fawkes or significant community celebrations.
Camping and outdoor activities are often a great way to spend your leisure time but they have their own set of unique fire risks that should not be underestimated. However, some common-sense preparation can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Caravans are smaller and more confined than a house so the fire risks can be potentially more hazardous. It is essential that you install a smoke alarm to give early warning of a fire and follow these precautions to reduce your risks:
- On a caravan site, find out what the fire-fighting arrangements are.
- Never leave children alone in a caravan -- they are particularly vulnerable.
- A fully-charged water or dry powder fire extinguisher should be located in the caravan near an exit door and a fire blanket should be adjacent to the cooking area. Keep a torch handy for emergencies -- never use candles.
- Make sure everyone knows how to operate escape windows and doors.
- Keep gas cylinders outside the caravan unless a special ventilated compartment is provided.
Fire Safety in the Countryside
Every year fire is responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of countryside, open spaces and wildlife habitat. Many of these fires are started deliberately but by following a few simple precautions and showing a little extra care, many others could be prevented:
- Dispose of smoking materials properly and make sure they are completely extinguished.
- Don't leave camp fires or barbecues unattended, and extinguish them properly after use.
- Clear away bottles, glasses and any broken glass to prevent them magnifying the sun's rays and starting a fire.
- Explain to children the dangers of playing with lighted fires.
- If fire breaks out, call the Fire and Rescue Service immediately. When specifying your location, mention any landmarks -- perhaps a church or pub -- and if phoning from a phone box, stay nearby so you can direct the fire appliances to the scene.
- Don't attempt to fight the fire yourself unless it is very small -- grass and crop fires can travel very quickly.
Every year, many people are injured from fire whilst camping. The following fire safety precautions will help ensure you don't become one of them:
- Allow at least 6 metres (18 feet) spacing between tents.
- Never use candles in or near tent -- always use a torch.
- Discourage smoking -- especially in smaller tents.
- Do not use cooking equipment in smaller tents.
- Ensure everyone knows the location of the nearest telephone and, if applicable, nearest fire point in case of emergency.
- Keep cookers away from the tent entrance.
- Make certain the cooker is stable, away from draughts and in an area where it will not get knocked over.
- Keep flammables (including long grass) away from the cooking area.
- Avoid using liquid fuel appliances if at all possible.
- Change disposable gas cylinders only when they are completely empty.
Finally the brigade would like to wish Hugh Brown all the very best of luck and every success when he competes next year as one of eight NZ Alpine skiers in the 2013 World Winter Games. Hugh we hope you have a wonderful time and fulfil your dreams in South Korea.
THE WAITATI VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE WOULD LIKE TO WISH ALL RESIDENTS OF THE BLUESKIN BAY COMMUNITY
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, SAFE, AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR