We’re calling on people across the West Mids to keep themselves and the region safe during the heatwave.
Pete Wilson, our Head of Community Safety, said: “With the temperatures set to soar this week, we’re calling on people to keep a cool head when it comes to safety.
“We obviously want those who can to enjoy the weather, but remind them of the dangers it can bring.
“From being sensible with barbecues, bonfires and near open water, to carefully disposing of cigarettes and matches – there’s a host of steps we can all take to stay safe.”
Added Mr Wilson: “It’s all too easy to get distracted when you’re having a good time with family and friends. It means you can soon forget how many drinks you’ve had, or that you’ve left something cooking away on the barbecue or in the kitchen.”
He called on people to look out for vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours who might not be able to cope with the soaring temperatures.
And he urged gardeners to check out the rules on having bonfires: https://www.gov.uk/garden-bonfires-rules.
Drowning is the third most common cause of accidental deaths of people under 16. Many victims, regardless of their age, misjudge how well they can swim. They are often unaware of how cold the water can be and how it can sap their strength and stamina.
Young children can drown in just a couple of inches of water, and most drownings of children aged five or under happen in or around the home.
Be water aware:
• Never jump or dive straight into open water – its depth, hidden objects and temperature could all be deadly
• Don’t be tempted to take a dip at unsupervised (un-lifeguarded sites) including lakes, quarries, reservoirs and rivers – they’re not suitable for swimming
• Even on a hot day the water temperature can stay cold, so jumping or diving in can cause cold water shock. This can kill, whether or not you’re a good swimmer
• If you still decide to enter the water and you start to feel cold, you must get out. Hypothermia will reduce your muscle strength and ability to swim
• The surface of the water might look calm, but underneath there could be currents, unknown depths, hazardous objects or pollution – all of which may stop your ability to swim or self-rescue
• Never enter the water or try to swim if you’ve had alcohol
• If you’re plannimng to visit a beach, look for one with lifeguards. Details of lifeguarded beaches can be found on the RNLI website (https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches)
• Always take someone with you when you go into, or near, water. If something goes wrong they’ll be able to get help
• If someone’s in difficulty in the water, shout reassurance to them, shout for help and call the emergency services on 999 or 112. If you’re inland ask for the Fire Service, if you’re at the coast ask for the coastguard
• Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing. Lie down to ensure you stay secure. Alternatively, throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy or anything that will float
• Encourage them to fight their instinct, relax and float on their back.
If you’re using a barbecue, sizzle safely!
• don’t drink and cook
• keep the BBQ well away from children, sheds, fences, trees, shrubs and garden waste
• have a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies
• follow the safety instructions for disposable BBQs
• never use a BBQ indoors or in a tent – they give off carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas
• never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your BBQ, and only use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on charcoal
• empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire.
The sun’s rays can be magnified by both bottles, mirrors and other glassware so its important not to leave glass objects, like magnifying mirrors, too close to windows. Any glass object has the potential to refract the sun’s light, even glasses of water or fish tanks can have the same effect.
Mirror and Glass Safety:
• Be aware of objects in your home such as shaving or vanity mirrors and glass ornaments or paperweights that may be exposed to direct sunlight
• Never place paperweights or other glass ornaments in direct sunlight
• Make sure mirrors, ornaments or other glassware are kept well away from windows
• Never drop glass bottles outside, always dispose of them correctly.
Know the rules and guidance around bonfires:
• There are no laws against having a bonfire, but there are laws for the nuisance they can cause
• You can’t get rid of household waste if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health. This includes burning it
• You could be fined if you light a fire and you allow the smoke to drift across the road and become a danger to traffic
• Specific rules for bonfires differ by council area, so check on the council website for your area for detailed rules and guidance.
• Have a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies
• Don’t burn dangerous rubbish (e.g. aerosols, paint tins or foam-filled furniture)
• Never leave your bonfire unattended, a responsible adult should be with the fire at ALL times.
• Ensure when the bonfire is finished that it is completely extinguished.
• Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished: Put it out, right out!
• Take extra care when you’re tired, taking any sort of drugs or have been drinking alcohol. It’s very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning. Never smoke in bed. If you need to lie down, don’t light up.
• Never leave lit cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended – they can easily overbalance as they burn down.
• Do not empty the hot contents of an ashtray into a bin. A drop of water in the ashtray will help to make it safe, then leave it to cool down fully.
• Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach. Ideally, buy child-resistant lighters and match boxes.
• Don’t put cigarettes into bins without first ensuring they are completely out.
• Don’t drop cigarettes outdoors, especially on dry grass, as they will catch light during dry conditions.