Boat Fire Safety Week starts on 28 May, and firefighters from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service will be offering free safety advice, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to people who live or work on the Kennet & Avon Canal.
Firefighters will be at the following locations through the week, all between 10am and 3pm:
- Tuesday 29 May – Devizes Wharf
- Wednesday 30 May – Bridge Tea Rooms, Bradford on Avon
- Thursday 31 May – Waterfront, Pewsey
Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences – in recent years, there have been a number of fire deaths involving people boating on the Kennet & Avon Canal.
In addition, national figures show that more than 60 boaters have been killed in the last 20 years as a result of a boat fire or carbon monoxide incident. CO poisoning is most likely to be caused by the exhaust emissions of portable generators, or problems with solid fuel stoves including flue pipes.
WM Tom Brolan, who is coordinating the campaign, said: “We know that boats carry a very high fire risk, and it is vital that boaters do all they can to protect themselves. Firefighters do travel along the towpath when they can, but Boat Fire Safety Week is an opportunity for us to run a concerted campaign and hopefully reach as many people as possible.”
He added, “As well as offering fire safety advice, and fitting smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as required, we will also be reminding boaters of the importance of knowing their location at all times so that, in the event of any emergency, we can get there as quickly as possible.”
Among the top tips that firefighters will be sharing with boaters are:
- Fit a suitable smoke detector;
- Make a fire action plan;
- Take care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders;
- Avoid using portable gas equipment on-board, where possible, and store all gas canisters in special gas lockers or open places where any leaks will flow overboard;
- Routinely check items such as battery terminals and fuse box connections for damaged strands or signs of overheating;
- Take care when doing repairs, and keep interiors well ventilated when using adhesives, paints and spirit based products; and
- Always keep your eye on a solid fuel stove when it’s lit and don’t leave it unattended.