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Fire Chiefs issue warning on balcony barbecues

16 July 2020

With warmer weather on the way, barbecues will once again be coming out across the country.

balcony floor burnt out after fire

Most outdoor cooking will take place in gardens, but a worrying trend has emerged in the capital which fire services across the country are keen to minimise - barbecues on balconies.

Online retail giant Amazon has removed products marketed as 'balcony barbecues' after London Fire Brigade (LFB) highlighted fire safety concerns. 

The Brigade wrote to a number of manufacturers and stocklists in June outlining their concerns and the potential devasting impact fire caused by these products can have should an incident occur.  

This move is fully supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) which has been issuing advice about the dangers of barbecues on balconies, as well as outdoors, which can significantly increase the risk of wildfires. 

chicken cooking on barbecueSee our general BBQ safety advice

Grassland fire prevention advice

Retailer, Menkind also confirmed they have removed the items from sale and, like Amazon, will be contacting customers who purchased the product to offer them a full refund if the product is returned or disposed of. 

Some companies contacted by LFB are yet to respond to the concerns and they have been urged to note the swift action taken by Amazon and Menkind and follow their lead.  

NFCC want to see the Responsible Person for flats and landlords to make sure that their residents are aware of the fire safety advice to avoid balcony fires, as well as ensuring the public are aware of the potential dangers. 

NFCC balcony fire safety advice

nfcc logoNFCC does not recommend the use of any barbecues on balconies, even those marketed as being for use on balconies. In these cases, the recommendation of extinguishers to be kept nearby is insufficient and irresponsible and goes against national advice to never tackle a fire yourself.  

  • Other products such as firepits, patio heaters and chimineas should also not be used on balconies. 
  • Do not discard cigarettes or smoking materials on or over the balcony. Use a sturdy ashtray with a small amount of water in it to ensure material is fully extinguished. 
  • Balconies should not be used for storage.  
  • Flammable or hazardous materials such as gas cylinders should not be stored on a balcony  
  • White goods should not be stored or used on balconies. 
  • Do not use or set off fireworks / sky lanterns from a balcony 
  • Don't make modifications to your balcony such as installing combustible screening