South Yorkshire firefighters demand 'common sense' approach to garden fires
Firefighters in Sheffield are calling on people across the county to use ‘common sense’ when lighting garden fires during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The plea from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue comes as it, and other fire services nationally, has seen an increase in garden fire call-outs over the last two weeks.
These incidents, crews say, could potentially slow their response to a more serious incident and hamper their ability to help their communities in other ways during these difficult times.
Group Manager Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the joint police and fire community safety team, said: “First and foremost, we don’t want to take away from the most important message right now – stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
“What we do want to do, though, is keep our firefighters free, not only for real, life-threatening emergencies, but also for the extra work that they are starting to take on during this pandemic.
“We appreciate people are generating more rubbish by staying at home and that disposal options are more limited right now, which is why some people are lighting garden fires.
“Ideally people wouldn’t do this at all, given that they can so easily get out of control, put people at risk and tie up our firefighters.
“However, if people must have a fire in their garden, please do not leave them unattended, keep them away from sheds, trees and fences and have a bucket of water nearby.
“Please also consider your neighbours.
“Smoke can be a real nuisance and this is especially the case if you’re trying to enjoy some fresh air, or it’s blowing into your home.”
The service is also calling on people to be vigilant around deliberate fire-setting – with a particular plea going out to parents with teenage children.“
Last week, it was announced a tri-party agreement had been struck for firefighters across the country to take on additional duties during the coronavirus outbreak.
This will see crews across South Yorkshire potentially driving ambulances, delivering care packages to the most vulnerable and transporting bodies.