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Barbecue safety

Outdoor activities are often a great way to spend your leisure time but they have their own set of unique fire risks that should not be underestimated. However, some basic preparation can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

A barbecue should be a safe and enjoyable experience but it’s all too easy to be distracted when you have friends and family around you whilst cooking. 

To avoid injuries or damage to property, follow these simple precautions:

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

  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues. Never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue but not more (normally around 5cms or 2 inches).
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not in dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire. Never bring the embers indoors.

Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognized lighters or starter fuels on cold coals.

Gas barbecues

Never store gas cylinders under the stairs – if there is a fire they might explode and block your escape route.

  • Store gas barbecues and cylinders outside, ensuring they are not blocking access routes and paths, ideally in a locked shed away from direct sunlight and frost.
  • Take care when turning bottled gas barbecues on and off.
  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
  • After cooking, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbecue control. This will stop any gas from leaking.
  • If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas cylinder and try brushing soapy water around all joints, watching for bubbles.
  • Make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
  • Change gas cylinders outdoors or in a well ventilated area.