Equipment damaged in fire at RNLI lifeguard storage unit at Stone Bay

The fire damaged equipment which will now need to be replaced Photo RNLI/ Ed Stevens

A RNLI lifeguard storage unit at Stone Bay went up in flames on Wednesday evening (June 19), damaging vital equipment inside at a cost of £2,500 to the charity.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but the RNLI is urging people who are using barbecues or having fires at the beach to take extra care.

With the warmer weather arriving, RNLI lifeguards are asking the public to remember the correct use and disposal of barbecues and about lighting fires on beaches.

During the summer months, many beaches provide a safe disposable BBQ bin. It is usually bright red in colour.

Regional lifeguard lead for the RNLI, Ed Stevens said: “We want everyone to enjoy our beautiful beaches during the summer months, but please do so safely.

“If you are having a BBQ please don’t bury it or cover it with sand after you’ve finished as it will continue burning and this actually traps the heat in and could cause injury for other beach users. The same goes for lighting fires on our beaches.

“Our lifeguards are there to keep you safe and although they have faced a set-back, we will still carry out our vital work over the next few days and throughout the summer.”

Although some boards have been damaged beyond use, Thanet District Council, alongside one of the RNLI’s partners ‘Your Leisure’ has allowed the lifeguards to store their rescue boards and vital equipment in a storage container close by. This will allow the boards, funded by generous donations to the charity, to remain safe and for the RNLI lifeguard service to continue at Stone Bay Beach.

Currently, Stone Bay Beach has RNLI lifeguards on duty from 10am to 6pm on weekend service. This service will remain in place and the damaged storage unit will be safely removed within the next couple of weeks.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is asking people to help reduce the risk of an emergency this summer by enjoying themselves safely.

KFRS advised the public visiting the beach this summer to:

  • only use disposable BBQs in authorised areas and make sure it is cold before putting in a bin
  • supervise burning bonfires and lit barbecues at all times
  • always take rubbish home or use a bin, as rubbish such as reflective cans and glass can start fires
  • dispose of smoking materials responsible – do not throw them onto the ground

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