West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and West Sussex County Council are urging residents to think twice about bonfires and BBQs this Easter and not to burn waste.
It comes as nice weather is predicted for the bank holiday weekend and social distancing restrictions remain in place with people spending the long bank holiday weekend at home.
To avoid injuries or damage to property, residents should follow these simple precautions:
burn household or garden waste
• Never leave a fire unattended
• Ensure a BBQ is on a flat site, well away from a shed, trees or shrubs
• Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area
• Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
• Ensure the BBQ is cool before attempting to move it
• If you’re using a disposable BBQ ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin. To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then pour copious amounts of water over it to make sure it is out before putting it in the bin.
Station Manager Marvin Smith said: “Please be sensible when lighting BBQs. Accelerants such as firelighters or fluids have the potential for a fire to get out of control very quickly, while nearby sheds and fences can easily catch light from just a spark. On Sunday our crews from Crawley had to deal with a BBQ that had got out of hand, which had spread to the wooden decking area and their property causing a lot of damage.
“We are all feeling the strain in these unprecedented times, but by working together we can ensure that no further pressure is put on the emergency services, or our NHS colleagues having to treat people for burns and respiratory issues.”
Steve Read, Director or Environment and Public Protection, said: “We understand it is frustrating for residents not to have access to Household Waste Recycling Sites, but advice from central government is to stay home, protect the NHS, save lives. Protecting residents and staff is our priority and we will only reopen the sites when we can be sure it is safe to do so.
“We urge residents not to burn household and garden waste but to keep hold of it until the sites reopen. Fumes from bonfires can aggravate respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis and affect those with heart complaints. The MET Office has also forecasted particularly high pollution levels in West Sussex this weekend and fires outdoors could make this worse.
“Our district and borough councils are doing all they can to ensure kerbside collections continue but may be affected if staffing levels drop. Please remember not to dispose of electrical goods, clothing and DIY waste in your bin. You can keep in touch with your local district or borough council for the latest updates about kerbside collections.”
For more information on home fire safety visit: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire-emergencies-and-crime/west-sussex-fire-and-rescue-service/home-fire-safety/
If you are concerned a bonfire or BBQ is out of control, always dial 999. If you have concerns about the materials being burnt, contact your local district or borough council’s environmental health team.