Fire crews hand out safety advice at Billing Aquadrome ahead of scorching weekend

Fire crews from Moulton and Mereway paid a visit to Billing Aquadrome yesterday (June 9) to share key safety messages with members of the public ahead of what’s set to be a scorching weekend.

Members of the Green Watch crews were joined by staff from the fire prevention team to meet and greet visitors at the Aquadrome and answer questions, show them around the fire engines and offer advice on outdoor safety.

The Aquadrome has more than 1,500 holiday homes, 70 boats and camping spaces for 2,000 people, and the advice the fire service gave was focused on keeping safe in caravans, tents and boats – and highlighting the dangers that open water can still pose on a warm day.

Ash Tugby, station manager at Mereway Fire Station, said: “With the COVID lockdown having been in place, what we’re trying to do now is be a bit more visible to the public and engage with them. The crews at Moulton and Mereway have been working with our prevention team and we want to get out these safety messages, and that’s what we’ve been doing here at Billing Aquadrome.”

Caravan safety information was displayed on screens across the Aquadrome, with advice on making sure that electrical items are turned off when not in use, not to overload electrical sockets and to never bring cooking or fuel appliances inside that are designed for outdoor use.

Liz Armstrong, from the community and prevention team at the fire service, said: “We would urge people to treat their caravans like they would their own homes. Keep it nice and tidy and keep kitchens clear from grease, avoid putting things like cloths and tea towels near the hob because they can easily catch fire. We would also urge people to test their smoke alarms weekly, and while we want people to enjoy their life in a caravan, we would urge them to think about safety as well.”

Several fire stations across Northamptonshire have specialist teams, with Mereway having a water rescue unit that can quickly attend incidents with lifesaving equipment.

John Sapsford, a firefighter at Mereway, was on hand alongside colleagues to highlight steps that will allow members of the public to stay safe in and around the water.

He said: “We would advise that if you want to go swimming go where it’s controlled and there’s a lifeguard. If you get into difficulty and you fall into the water, try to float to save your life and let your body get used to the temperature of the water.”

Boat owners will also receive advice on how to keep them in top condition and avoid fire risks – such as checking fuel and gas systems regularly, keeping cabins well ventilated and escape routes clear, and recommending that carbon monoxide alarms are installed.

The advice, put together by the prevention team at the service, was well received by visitors and could play a key part in keeping guests at Billing safe.

Nigel Pilsworth, senior general manager at Billing Aquadrome, said: “We’re very pleased that Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service has come down to help promote these messages. We’ve seen a boom in staycations and more and more people are enjoying a Great British holiday, which is good for us, but we want to ensure that it’s enjoyed in a safe environment.

“One of the big issues we face is gas canister safety, and we have a robust system where people have to buy their canisters through the park, which means that they are transported to them and fitted safely, but it’s also critical for everyone’s safety should we need to remove them in an emergency situation.

“We’ve also seen a large increase in disposable barbecues being used and people need to safely dispose of them, so we’ve introduced specialist bins where people can place them, and we think that’s the best way to deal with them.”

To stay safe, you should never leave a barbecue unattended and you should keep them away from sheds, trees, fences and garden waste.

To access more safety advice, visit: https://www.northantsfire.gov.uk/outdoor-safety/

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