Fire service issue boat fire safety warning

Throughout Boat Fire Safety Week, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service are encouraging boat users to ensure their safety while aboard by installing working smoke and CO detectors, with only 28% of boat fires attended in recent years having an installed and working smoke alarm.

Although boat fires on inland waters are less common than fires on land, when they do occur they can have devastating consequences. This is due to the confined space on boats and the limited access routes as means of escape.

Fire prevention is always the first form of protection from fire on boats, but a smoke alarm can be the next line of defence, particularly if occupants sleep aboard. Smoke from a boat fire will affect the ability to breathe, a sensation similar to drowning. With two to three breaths of toxic smoke the boat user could be unconscious. A working smoke alarm of the right type can warn very quickly of the danger and buy precious seconds to escape.

CO presents a significant risk of harm, not least because its presence is invariably hidden, and in relatively low concentrations can be harmful. For boats with fuel burning appliances, an engine or generator aboard, the strong recommendation is to fit a suitable audible carbon monoxide alarm for an added re-assurance.

Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety, Councillor Andy Crump said:

“While boat fires are relatively low in Warwickshire, they do have the potential for devastating consequences and so we would urge all boat users to take note of the advice above and do everything they can to stay safe.

“Prevention is the best way to avoid fires on board, taking steps to ensure you turn off all appliances, extinguish all smoking materials and set an escape plan. However, despite all efforts, should a fire break out or a carbon monoxide escape occur, the critical survival factor will be the presence of suitable working smoke and CO alarms.”

For further information about general boat fire and CO safety, visit www.boatsafetyscheme.org/stay-safe