Safety first for Bank Holiday BBQs

bbq picnik

With the warmer weather forecast to continue over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is warning the public to take extra care with barbecues.

Station Manager Ian Wadmore of the Community Safety team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “With the weather so good for activities, such as barbecues, it’s only natural to want to be outside, enjoying it with family and friends. But there are dangers that lurk behind such fun pursuits.

“Using petrol to light your barbecue or leaving it unattended are two of the most common mistakes people make. Every summer this results in firefighters being called to fires caused by barbecues that have got out of control. In some instances, this has led to serious injuries and damage to property.”

He added:

“My top ingredient for a great barbecue is to make sure that you cook with safety in mind. We really want Hampshire residents to enjoy the opportunities the good weather brings, so follow our simple common sense advice, and make sure your barbecue runs smoothly.”

• Make sure your barbecue is placed on level ground where it will not tip over

• Keep barbecues away from the house, sheds, fences, garden furniture and overhanging trees or shrubs. Don’t put the barbecue where people have to squeeze past it.

• Only use approved barbecue fuel or fire lighters. Never use petrol or paraffin.

• Keep children and garden games well away from the cooking area.

• Never leave the barbecue unattended.

• If you are the chef, don’t drink alcohol while cooking.

• Watch out when you are cooking fatty foods. Lots of fat spilling onto the coals might cause a flare up.

• When you have finished cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before you try to move it.

• Empty the spent ash on to bare garden soil – never put it in the dustbin.

Gas barbecues

• If you are using a bottled gas barbecue, make sure the controls and the cylinder valve are turned off before you change the cylinder.

• Change the cylinder in the open air if you can, otherwise open doors and windows to provide good ventilation.

• If you think there might be a leak in the gas cylinder connections or pipe, brush soapy water over all of the joints and watch out for bubbles. If you find a leaky joint, try to tighten it but don’t over tighten it.

• When you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbecue controls. This makes sure any leftover gas in the pipe is used up.

• Store your gas cylinders outside and protect from frost and direct sunlight. Don’t keep more spare cylinders than you need.

Ian Wadmore added:

“This may seem a formidable list but most of these things are common sense. By following our advice, you can enjoy yourself safely.”

Further fire safety advice can be obtained from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Fire Safety team or log on to www.hantsfire.gov.uk .

Photo: Martin Booze