Barbecue safety tips

barbecue safety advice

Click here for a PDF of the Fire Safety Outdoors leaflet

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is reissuing its seasonal barbecue safety advice now that the summer holidays have started.

Jo Cook, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: “It's natural to want to make the most of the good weather by going outdoors for a barbecue with family and friends.

"However, there are a few things it's worth remembering to make sure you don't end up having to ring 999.

“By following some simple rules, you can ensure your barbecue is a safe and enjoyable event. It's mainly just a matter of common sense.”

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's top barbecue safety tips are:

  • Never use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue. Prepare well in advance, using enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue - normally around five centimetres.
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs and garden waste.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues, and make sure they are cold when you dispose of them.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • When they are cold, empty ashes on to bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.

Additional safety tips if you have a gas barbecue:

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