Warning for outdoor drinkers

Fire chiefs are warning outdoor diners and drinkers that their empty glass bottles and jars are a fire risk as well as their disposable barbecues.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 11:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 10:05 pm
Damage caused by fires at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre in April 2019.

The summer months draw out families and friends for alfesco dining in Hartlepool’s outdoor spaces.

And while savvy chefs may realise their barbecues pose a risk, they may not be aware of the risks their glass containers – which have been on the increase as part of a drive to reduce single-use plastics.

Coun Marjorie James, one of the Hartlepool representatives on Cleveland Fire Authority, raised the concerns and highlighted the danger of incidents occurring, especially in rural areas.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

She said: “One of the issues we’ve got, certainly across the rural areas, is that grass fires burn into the ground and can be alive for weeks and months. There are more incidents occurring of glass containers being utilised which have the ability to magnify the sun and cause fire. There is mass use of single use barbecues which if they are not put out properly and removed have the potential to cause fires.

“It may be an opportune period of time now in the year for the fire authority to add its voice to not leaving litter of any description in open spaces and to limit the amount of use of single use barbecues because they are a real risk to large areas of our open space.”

Chiefs at Cleveland Fire Brigade shared the concerns and urged residents to act responsibly when disposing of litter and disposable barbecues, adding they have a social media campaign to further promote the message. Ian Hayton, chief fire officer at Cleveland Fire Brigade, said they are using various methods to get the safety message across.

He said: “We are utilising social media certainly in trying to express, as we build up to the summer break period, which is the peak period in relation to those types of fire, about that safety in relation to our rural areas.”

Mr Hayton said representatives from the fire brigade also go into schools around Easter and summer time to make children aware of such dangers.

In April, police and firefighters warned youths about putting lives and wildlife at risk following a spate of fires in Hartlepool with trees and benches set alight.