In case of fire

Hot weather means the beach, swimming and sunbathing to many people. Indeed the glorious climate is why most people flock to Spain for holidays or to live permanently.

However there is a flip side to everything and in this case it is the danger of fire.

What starts as a carelessly discarded cigarette butt or a spark can, within minutes, develop into a raging inferno as the fire gathers speed over the parched undergrowth.

We have all attended fire drills in hotels, on board ships or in offices and many regard it as a bit of fun, not to be taken too seriously - after all fire is something which happens to someone else. Perhaps we unconsciously reject an unpleasant thing from our minds and instead dwell on more desirable things.

The simple fact is fire is real and is a threat to every household. Everyone should have a fire plan, especially if you have pets, as they rely on you for their guidance. Circumstances vary but a few basic rules apply.

I believe it is vital to keep a collar on your dog at night as well as during the day. If an emergency occurs there is no time to try to find a collar, maybe in the dark, and fit it together with a lead on a struggling, frightened dog whose natural instinct is to run, not always in the right direction. With him or her on a collar and lead, you are in control. With cats you should keep a cat carrier within easy reach. Put the cat in it and put the carrier in a safe place away from the fire.

Keep pets well away from your barbecue. A bouncing dog can easily knock it over.

You should make provision for the pets to have alternative accommodation until the crisis is over. This may be with pet loving friends or with commercial kennels. Even if full, most kennels will find room in an emergency.

Wild animals can cause a fire - a bird could pick up a glowing butt from a discarded cigarette and carry it into the dry undergrowth.

"Be Prepared" is the old Scout motto. Bear it in mind and avoid tragedy.