STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service are urging boat users to be aware of dangers involving boats and barges as they prepare them for use now spring has arrived.
The Service has attended two fatal boat fires in the past, although carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty appliances or blocked flues is another potential killer.
Carmel Warren, Prevention Manager, said: "Fire safety is just as important on a boat as it is in the home – in the past we have attended two fatal boat fires, which highlights why members of the boating world need to take fire safety seriously.
“And although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences. Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, which may mean firefighters take longer to reach the incident. Consequently a fire may have longer to take hold and could totally destroy a boat and everything onboard.”
She urged boaters to not only be vigilant about fire safety, but also ensure they knew their location at all times so should an emergency occur, rescue services could get there as soon as possible. Advice on general boat fire safety includes:
• Fitting a suitable smoke alarm.
• Ensuring flues are cleared to allow fumes to escape freely and avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Making a fire action plan.
• Taking extreme care when refuelling with petrol or changing gas cylinders.
• Avoiding the use of portable gas equipment onboard, where possible, and storing all gas canisters in special gas lockers or open places where any leaks will flow overboard.
•Checking battery terminals and fuse box connections routinely for damaged strands or signs of overheating.
•Taking care when doing repairs, and keeping interiors well ventilated when using adhesives, paints and spirit-based products.
•Keeping a close watch on a solid fuel stove when in use and whenever possible not leaving the boat unattended if the stove is lit.
Boaters interested in receiving free fire safety advice from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service can call Freephone 0800 0241 999 to book a FREE Boat Fire Risk Check.