Summer safety tips

As the warm weather continues, many of us are spending more time outdoors – tending the garden, playing with the kids and enjoying some al fresco dining. But these activities can pose a few safety hazards so here’s a reminder on how to keep you and your family safe.

Barbecue basics

Nothing says ‘summer’ like firing up the barbecue. But while outdoor cooking is a great way to enjoy the good weather, it can be easy to forget some of the risks:

  • never leave the barbecue unattended
  • keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area
  • don’t put it away in the shed or garage until it’s cooled down completely
  • ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from the house, shed or trees
  • when using a disposable barbecue, use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about two inches and place it on a solid surface like a slab or some bricks - do not use wood or decking as it may burn through
  • only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals – use the minimum necessary and never use petrol
  • keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
  • make sure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it

If you live in a flat, please don’t use a barbecue on your balcony – this goes against your tenancy agreement and is in place for your safety. Falling embers could cause a fire on the balconies below you.

There’s also a possibility that carbon monoxide could enter the flat through open windows.

A note about bonfires

Burning waste is not a good way to get rid of rubbish. Not only does it pose a real risk to you, your children, property and pets, fumes from the fire can be hazardous – and your neighbours won’t appreciate smoke blowing into their gardens. The good news is that local household waste recycling centres have now re-opened, so you can pack up and take your unwanted items there. Please check on your local council website before visiting, as many sites are now operating an appointment only basis.

Using appliances outside

Like to keep busy in the garden? Here are some tips on how to handle power tools and appliances:

  • read the tool’s instructions, especially all safety warnings, before you use it
  • never use electrical tools or lawn mowers in wet areas
  • when using outdoor electrical appliances such as a hedge cutter or strimmer, wear sturdy boots or shoes
  • plug your appliance into a circuit breaker (that plugs into a wall socket) so that if you accidentally cut the flex, it will shut down and prevent electric shock
  • always unplug the mower or strimmer if you want to remove a blockage with your hands
  • white goods such as fridges are not designed to be used outside

Keep safe indoors

Remember, there are just as many hazards inside the home. Here are a few to be cautious of:

  • overloaded electrical sockets with too many plugs
  • hoarding items in your home
  • using a heater to dry clothes
  • cigarettes that are not put out properly
  • when cooking keep a close eye on your oven and the pots and pans on your stove
  • placing candles near curtains or other flammable materials
  • leaving tea towels and other items on the cooker hob (in case it’s accidentally switched on)
  • Please don’t forget to close internal doors at night to stop a potential fire from spreading.

Remember: Test your smoke alarm every week by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If your smoke alarm is not working, contact us straight away on 0330 100 0272.