Stay Safe in a Heatwave

KFRS urges public to stay safe and help prevent fires in the heatwave

18 July 2022

With record high temperatures forecast for Kent and Medway in the coming days, Kent Fire and Rescue Service has provided top tips to help people stay safe and help reduce the chance of grass, woodland and crop fires.

Firefighters are urging people living in Kent and Medway to follow simple steps to stay safe during the heatwave, and throughout the summer months.

With soaring temperatures in recent weeks and record breaking highs forecast for today and tomorrow (18 and 19 July), the Fire Severity Index is currently at level 4 'very high', moving to level 5 ‘exceptional’ throughout the day - meaning fires could develop and spread rapidly and with greater severity.

In these conditions, crews see more accidental fires started and injuries sustained, especially due to increased barbecues and bonfires - flames from which have the potential to spread wildly across parched grassland.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Leanne McMahon said: “We will always be there and ready to respond in times of need, but we’re asking the public to do their bit and take care to reduce the risk of fires starting in the first place.

“Grass fires often require a large amount of fire service resources and can take hours or days to fully extinguish. We want to work together with people living, working and visiting the county to reduce the chance of accidental grass fires, keeping people safe and freeing up our crews to respond to other, less-preventable emergencies.”

Follow these tips to help prevent fires this summer:

  • Keep barbecues clear of fences and greenery, always supervise the cooking, and only dispose of ash once it’s cold.
  • If using a disposable barbecue, place it on a flat, non-flammable surface and only dispose of it once it’s cold - whether that’s in a bin or at a waste site.
  • Keep bonfires to a manageable size, make sure it’s well clear of greenery and property, and always supervise the burning. Keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby in case flames start to spread, and avoid having one at all in windy weather.
  • Dispose of smoking materials responsibly, making sure cigarettes are fully out and cold before being put in a bin - do not drop them onto the ground, and consider using a portable ashtray.

Leanne added: “If you see a grass fire, move to a safe place and call 999 - please don't try to tackle it yourself.

"We also ask everyone to check in on loved ones and neighbours who may struggle in the heat, to make sure that they are safe and well, and have everything they need to stay as cool and comfortable as possible.”