Heatwave warning from fire and council chiefs

A heatwave warning is issued by fire service and council chiefs to ask people to do all they can to prevent fires as temperatures soar.

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Published on 12 August 2022

We are urging people not to have barbecues while the conditions are so hot and dry, especially in public open spaces

As the West Midlands experiences the second heatwave of the summer, fire and council chiefs are urging people to look after themselves and others as temperatures soar – and to do all they can to prevent fires. 
 
The Met Office has issued an ‘amber’ warning for extreme heat, lasting until Sunday. Temperatures across the West Midlands are forecast to reach the mid-thirties.  
 
And, according to the Met Office’s Fire Severity Index, any fires that start could become ‘very high’ in severity.  
 
The amber warning means people could experience adverse health effects, and that some changes in working practices and daily routines could be needed. 
 
Phil Loach, West Midlands Fire Service’s (WMFS) Chief Fire Officer, said: “Last month, included the period when a ‘red’ extreme heat warning was in place, our staff worked exceptionally hard in challenging circumstances to keep our communities safe

A firefighter uses a hose on scorched ground

“For the whole of July, our average attendance time for serious incidents in high-risk areas was 4 minutes and 50 seconds, which is within our five-minute standard. The average for outdoor fires was 6 minutes 50 Seconds – well within our 20-minute standard. This was in spite of increased demand caused by the heatwave.

“I want to reassure people that, as ever, we have plans in place 24/7 to ensure that we can answer 999 calls and respond to fires and other emergencies.  

“However, I would also appeal to everyone to do what they can to ensure fires don’t start in the first place. Please also check on more vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbours for whom the heat might be an extra burden.  

“We are urging people not to have barbecues while the conditions are so hot and dry, especially in public open spaces. They’re not allowed in many of our local councils’ parks.

“Swimming in open water also comes with very real dangers – even during a heatwave. I’d ask parents and carers to warn their children of the risks. Everyone needs to err on the side of caution.

“Sadly, many people across the country have already died this year after getting into difficulties in open water. We can all help to ensure there aren’t more deaths.” 

Learn more about how to stay safe on our heatwave safety page.

Councillor Majid Mahmood, Cabinet Member for Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “While this hot weather is being enjoyed by visitors to our parks and green spaces, this is not the time to have barbecues or to be reckless with discarded cigarettes. After many weeks without rain, the ground is tinder-dry and so it takes a lot less effort for fires to take hold.  

“Barbecues are not permitted in our parks. Even if people take away their disposable barbecues, the scorched grass they leave can be enough to start a fire that can spread quickly – so I’m urging people not to do this, however tempting it may be.”