Firefighters meet travellers to spread fire safety message

Firefighters from Patchway Fire Station are set to visit a travellers’ site in the area to raise awareness of fire safety in the home.

Crews from Red Watch will be joining Charles Waithe, from the Avon Fire & Rescue Service Community Safety Team, for the visit at Highwood Park, Highwood Road, Patchway.

The visit has been organised in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council’s Gypsy and Traveller Education Team and is part of a range of activities taking place across the Avon area as part of Gypsy and Traveller Month.

So far travellers in Weston-super-Mare and Bedminster, have been visited by firefighters and members of the Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) Community Safety Team, as part of an initiative to promote fire safety within the community.

Watch Manager John Davies, AF&RS Community Safety Officer for South Gloucestershire, said: “Travellers have been identified as one of the groups most at risk from fire. Often their homes have wood burning stoves, which can be hazardous if not looked after properly and like many people, some travellers may not aware of how vital working smoke alarms are.

“Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a fire, particularly at night. They provide an early warning that a fire has broken out, giving occupants vital extra minutes to escape to safety.

“Not many people realise that just two or three breaths of toxic smoke can render a person unconscious, so having a working smoke alarm can make all the difference.”

During the visit to Highwood Park crews will talk to members of the traveller community about fire safety and fit smoke detectors in their homes.

Fire safety advice for members of the traveller community includes:

  • Don’t run electrics from one caravan to another.
  • Don’t overload sockets, using an adaptor with a lead is much safer.
  • Avoid drying clothes on or next to a heater and ensure all heaters are working properly.
  • Make sure candles and smoking materials are fully extinguished after use.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Take extra care when cooking with oil.
  • Don’t store fuel under your home.
  • Turn off any gas canisters when not in use.

If you do have a fire:

  • never throw water onto a burning pan of oil as this will only make the fire worse;
  • alert everyone to the fire; and
  • get out, stay out and call 999.