Barbecue Fire Safety by Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

This article has been issued by “Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

Barbecue Safety
During the current spell of hot weather, you may decide to enjoy a barbecue (BBQ) with family and friends.
Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to offer some safety tips to ensure that you have a safe BBQ.
Safety tips

To avoid injuries or damage to property follow these simple precautions:
• Make sure your BBQ is in good working order.
• 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.
• Never leave the BBQ unattended.
• Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
• Ensure the BBQ is cool before attempting to move it.

Disposable Barbecues

Firefighters and forest rangers have issued an urgent warning to visitors to Delamere Forest to not use barbecues or light fires. Over the Bank Holiday weekend (29th April to 1st May 2011) there were a total of nine fires at the forest – all of which were caused by disposable barbecues.
The most serious was late on Saturday 30th May 2011 when two appliances from Chester, one from Northwich and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s four-wheel drive response vehicle from Audlem had to be called. Firefighters spent 40 minutes tackling a six-metre square area of peat which had begun to smoulder as a result of a barbecue being left on bare ground.
People should not use disposable barbecues in Delamere Forest under any circumstances.

If you do use them elsewhere:

• It is imperative that they are placed on an even surface on either bricks or paving slabs.
• Place disposable BBQs well away from the house, shed or fences.
• Do not use disposable barbecues near or on public benches.
• If you’re using a disposable BBQ ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin. To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it’s out.

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 devices (e.g. disposable barbecues, camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills) 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.

This may seem 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. We have had a couple of occasions where people have poured petrol onto the charcoal to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous.
Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early.
Most of all, enjoy yourself safely.

For any more questions/information please contact us!