Beware of that ‘barbie’…


The fire is safe, but the smoke is poisonous and the bangers on this barbie are too pink…

With sizzling temperatures forecast for the next few days,  people are being urged to be safety conscious around barbecues, especially when lighting them.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have recently issued a press release urging the public to take extra care when cooking outdoors this summer.

Hants Fire & Rescue’s Community Safety Officer, Gary Elston says:

“After a slow start to the summer it’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy it with family and friends, many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit.”

“To make sure your event is enjoyable and safe, please make yourself familiar with the safety precautions surrounding barbecues.”

“Also, if you’ve planned a barbecue and the weather lets you down, don’t take the barbecue indoors or into a tent. In recent years, some people have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning as a result, so we are urging everyone to stay safe this summer.”

Hants Fire & Rescue’s top tips for ensuring your barbecue is safe and enjoyable are:

  • Only use barbecues in suitable and safe areas and never indoors or in a tent.
  • Make sure the coals are cool before you move the barbecue and always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.
  • Only use recommended fluids or fire lighters and never petrol

Gary Elston continued:

“This may seem like a long list, but most of these things are common sense. By far the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue.”

Pouring petrol onto the charcoal in an effort to get it going can have violent and dangerous effects.

“Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early. Most of all, enjoy yourself safely.”

For more information on outdoor fire safety, please visit barbecue-safety

Meanwhile, in another corner of the Nanny state, the Food Standards Agency in their advice disagree with Hants Fire & Rescue, saying that cross-contamination of food is the biggest risk.

Many minor incidents of food-poisoning from barbecue (and other) food go un-recorded every year, but there is a seasonal increase in the recorded cases during the summer.

With some sensible precautions the risks of food poisoning can be reduced.

Avoiding cross-contamination is important, but that’s not the end of the hazards. The NHS webpage, food safety with barbecues gives some additional good advice about cooking, reporting that a spokesman for the FSA has advised;

“Don’t assume that because meat is charred on the outside it will be cooked properly on the inside. Cut the meat at the thickest part and ensure none of it is pink on the inside.”

Eastleigh News hopes that you all have a safe weekend and that despite all the hazards, you enjoy your ‘barbie’.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

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