As UK weather is predicted to improve in the next week the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is urging the public to spend time outdoors safely to prevent fires and drownings.  

As temperatures rise fire and rescue services can see an increase in calls to outdoor fires and water rescue incidents. If you’re away from home then location apps such as What3Words or Ordnance Survey Locate can help fire and rescue services find your exact location if you do need help.  

A small outdoor fire can lead to a wildfire. These are often started by human activities such as using barbecues and campfires in the open, and careless disposal of cigarettes and glass. Deliberate fire setting and arson have also been the cause of wildfires. NFCC will be issuing advice to reduce the risk as part of the Wildfire Aware campaign.  

Help prevent wildfires by:

  • Only having campfires and barbecues in designated areas and ensure they are extinguished fully with water 
  • Supervising campfires or barbecues, never leave them unattended 
  • Disposing of litter properly – items such as glass bottles can focus the sun’s rays and start a fire 
  • Never setting off sky lanterns 
  • Disposing of cigarettes and smoking materials safely – ensure they are properly extinguished and don’t drop cigarettes or throw them from a car window. 

NFCC also encourage parents and carers to speak to young people about the dangers of starting fires outdoors and the consequences which can lead to large fires, putting lives and wildlife at risk.  

If you do spot a fire outdoors always move to a place of safety and report it by calling 999. Do not assume someone else already has. Give as much information as you can about location and size and follow any advice given by the fire control operator.  

It is quite usual for people to enjoy spending time in and around water in sunny weather. June 2023 recorded one of the highest rates of accidental water related fatalities for that year. As air temperatures rise, water remains cold and many people are unaware of the associated risks of entering the water, such as cold water shock which can affect your ability to swim. 

Enjoy time in and around water safely by:

  • Taking care when near water – in 2023 37% of people who drowned were running or walking and had no intention of entering the water 
  • Not jumping into water to cool off 
  • Ensuring you actively supervise children in and near water 
  • Not entering the water if you have been drinking alcohol 

Make sure you know how to help yourself and other people in the event of a water-related emergency.

If you see someone else in trouble in the water this summer, remember Call, Tell, Throw: 

  • Call 999 to get help 
  • Tell the struggling person to float on their back 
  • Throw them something that floats

If you find yourself in trouble in the water, Float to Live by: 

  • Tilting your head back with ears submerged 
  • Relaxing – to try to control your breathing  
  • Moving your hands to help stay afloat  
  • Once over the initial shock, calling for help or swimming to safety 

NFCC’s StayWise education platform has resources for children and young people on staying safe around water. 

Mark Hardingham, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council commented:

“We want the public to enjoy our wonderful outdoors when the summer weather starts. But it is important that people take steps to keep themselves and others safe.

“Unfortunately for fire services, good weather is a precursor to serious incidents such as wildfires and drownings which can be devastating for communities and families.” 

Further information:  

NFCC Wildfire Aware Prevention advice Wildfire Prevention Advice – NFCC

NFCC Be Water Aware Drowning Prevention advice Be Water Aware – NFCC

Water related fatalities statistics from WAID database Annual reports and data | National Water Safety Forum