THE fire and rescue service is urging the public to take care when enjoying the outdoors.

This month, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is supporting the Fire Kills Great Outdoors campaign, and is urging residents to take extra care in these challenging times.

With the weather improving, and many people beginning to spend more time outdoors, the service is asking that you follow a few simple steps to help reduce the pressure on emergency services.

Group Manager Chris Holland said: “We’re still responding to those who need us most, but we’re asking our residents to take a few precautions to ensure that they help us too, and stay as safe as possible.

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"Summertime is a great time to enjoy the weather, do some gardening, and have a barbecue, but we want to make sure that you minimise the risk of doing so, both helping you and reducing the challenges faced by our firefighters.”

The service said: "Help us to help keep you safe by not having bonfires, which could become out of control easily in dry weather and could pose a real danger to those around you, especially those with respiratory illnesses, who may face discomfort from the smoke.

"We also know that many of our residents will be wanting to make the most of the warm weather and have barbecues with family. If you’re planning on having a barbecue, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to help you stay safe."

• Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees and shrubs.

• Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.

• Set up your barbecue on level ground.

• If you have a gas barbecue always store gas cylinders outside.

• Use only approved lighter fluids and only ever on cold coals.

• Keep a bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.

They said more of us will also be spending more time outdoors for leisure and exercise.

If you’re out and about, take care – in warm weather, wildfires can start very easily and can quickly become out of control, putting extra pressure on firefighters.

• Extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground.

• Talk to young people about the dangers of lighting fires.

• Do not leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them).

• If you see a fire, always call 999.

A discarded cigarette caused a huge woodland fire in Burghfield and needed more than 1000 litres of water to put out over the weekend.

READ ALSO: Burghfield fire caused by discarded cigarette.

Finally, with warm weather forecast to continue, they are asking residents to rethink cooling off in open water by following the below advice.

• Do not swim or jump into lakes, quarries, canals or rivers.

• If you encounter somebody who has fallen into open water, call 999 and identify the specific location of the person.

• Do not enter the water to help the fallen individual. Instead, give them a focus by shouting “swim to me”.

• If there are life aids available, such as life buoys or throw bags, throw them to the individual. If the individual is holding onto a rope, make sure it is secured so that you can pull them towards land.

For more information on how to stay safe while you’re out and about, please visit c.