Barbecue safetyBBQ Safety cartoon

Most barbeques take place either in the garden or when your away camping, these simple tips to barbecue safely should help you avoid injuries or damage to property from fire:

  • make sure your barbecue site is flat and away from any combustible item such as fences, trees, sheds garden refuse
  • Have a means of extingishing the barbeque, such as keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, to use in case of an emergency
  • use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about 5 centimetres (2 inches)
  • never use petrol or paraffin to start, or revive, your barbecue – use only barbecue fire lighters or starter fuel on cold coals
  • keep children and pets away from the cooking area
  • never leave the barbecue unattended
  • enjoy yourself - but don't drink too much if you are in charge of a barbecue
  • after cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it
  • empty ashes on to bare soil, not into a bin

Gas barbecues – additional tips

Follow these extra tips if you are using a gas barbecue:

  • make sure your barbecue is in good working order
  • make sure the tap is off before changing the gas cylinder and do it in the open air
  • don’t over-tighten joints
  • when you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the barbecue controls – this means any gas in the pipeline will be used up
  • read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to check for leaks in the cylinder or pipework, eg brushing soapy water around all joints and looking for bubbles

Storing gas cylinders

Don’t keep more cylinders than you need. Gas cylinders should be kept outside, away from direct sunlight and frost. If you have to keep them inside your house, make sure you don’t store them under the stairs. If there is a fire, they could explode and the stairs are likely to be your escape route.

Camping safety

When you are going camping, follow these basic precautions to reduce the risk of fire starting and spreading:

  • before you set off, get the contact details of the local fire and rescue service
  • set up tents at least six metres apart and away from parked cars
  • make sure you know what the fire safety arrangements are on the camp site and where the nearest telephone is
  • don’t use oil-burning appliances, like lanterns, or candles in or near a tent – torches are safer
  • don’t smoke inside a tent
  • place your cooking area well away from the tent
  • keep your cooking area clear of items that catch fire easily (‘flammable’ items), including long, dry grass
  • put cooking appliances in a place where they can’t easily be knocked over
  • keep matches, lighters, flammable liquids and gas cylinders out of the reach of children
  • have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire

How to deal with a fire when camping

Remember these two simple tips:

  • get everyone out straight away – fires in tents spread very quickly
  • call the fire and rescue service and give a map reference if possible – provide a landmark, like a farm or pub, to help them find you

How to reduce the risk of wildfires

Dry ground in the summer means there’s an added risk of a fire starting, but you should take care at all times of the year. Follow these tips to reduce the chance of a wildfire in the countryside:

  • extinguish cigarettes properly and don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground – take your litter home
  • never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
  • avoid using open fires in the countryside
  • don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them)
  • only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended
  • if you see a fire in the countryside, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately
  • don’t attempt to tackle fires that can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible

    REMEMBER: Being safe ensures the fun continues