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Barbeque safety bbq with flame

Warm weather and lighter evenings are a perfect time to light a barbecue and enjoy time outside with family and friends. We have a few tips which will reduce the risk of fire during or after cooking.

BBQ safety tips

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

  • Never leave the BBQ unattended
  • Ensure the BBQ is on a flat site, well away from a shed, trees or shrubs
  • Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
  • Ensure the BBQ is cool before attempting to move it

Did you know?

BBQs can stay hot for hours, so be really careful moving them. They also give off carbon monoxide fumes for several hours after they go out, so don't bring them indoors, or into a tent, with you.

Disposable BBQs bring several risks, from grass fires to harming wildlife.

  • Disposable BBQs are often not put out properly, which can cause grass fires, especially in hot weather when the ground is dry
  • They’re sometimes used on balconies, where the wind may carry smouldering ash towards nearby grassland or neighbouring properties
  • The ground beneath a BBQ can remain searingly hot for hours after it has been removed, posing a risk to anyone who might walk over it
  • They pose a threat to wildlife and their disposable design makes them wasteful and harmful to the environment

A number of retailers have already stopped selling disposable BBQs, and we want more to do the same.

Charcoal Barbecues

  • Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches).
  • Only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals - use the minimum necessary and never use petrol.
  • Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin - they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.

Gas Barbecues

  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder
  • Change cylinders outdoors if possible or in a well ventilated area
  • If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles - tighten to fix but do not overtighten
  • After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up

Be carbon monoxide aware

  • Never use fuel-burning equipment (as listed below) inside a tent.
  • Using these indoors can cause Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning.
  • They give off fumes for hours and hours after you have used them - levels high enough to result in CO poisoning.
  • To avoid hazardous CO exposures, fuel-burning equipment should never be used inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter.

Fuel-burning equipment can include:

  • camping stoves
  • camping heaters
  • lanterns
  • charcoal grills
  • disposable barbecues

Opening tent flaps, doors, or windows is insufficient to prevent build-up of CO concentrations from these devices.

Also, when using fuel-burning devices outdoors, the exhaust should not vent into enclosed shelters.