Fire chiefs are urging people across the region to stay safe while spending time outdoors amid the warm weather.
As coronavirus lockdown measures gradually ease, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people about the dangers of open water and having barbecues outdoors.
Area Manager Paul Fearnhead said: "As always we advise people not to enter or swim in open water – if there is no lifeguard then it is not safe to swim. Too many people have lost their lives after getting into difficulties in water – even the strongest of swimmers suffer from Cold Water Shock and can find themselves caught up in objects hidden beneath the water’s surface. Please wait for leisure centres to re-open before you think about swimming.
"Also, as the weather is expected to warm up we want to remind people about staying safe if they are planning a visit to the countryside. We continue to plea with people not to start fires or have barbecues on the moors. These fires really can be devastating and we don’t want to see a repeat of the summer 2018 fires – which saw our firefighters, along with neighbouring services, engaged for several weeks.
"The roads may also become busier as more people are travelling to take exercise, so please do take extra care if you decide to head out. We deal with high numbers of incidents on the roads, which can be devastating to individuals, family members and also our frontline crews."
A Public Space Protection Order was enforced in parts of Oldham and Tameside last year, meaning people caught lighting barbecues and fires, as well as setting off fireworks and sky lanterns, will be fined £100. Failure to pay could result in prosecution through the courts.
The fire service has issued the following advice for people heading out in the coming days and weeks:
- Ensure you follow social distancing guidance by staying at least 2 metres away from people you don’t live with
- Never enter or swim in open water
- Never start a fire or take a barbecue on the moors or to the countryside
- Drive carefully and take extra care on the roads as they become busier
More safety advice can be found at the GMFRS website here https://manchesterfire.gov.uk/.