Safety tips for summer barbecues

Image of meat on a barbecue

The British summer climate can be unpredictable but August is often a favourite time for any ‘dry weather’ days to be celebrated with barbecues.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) would like people to continue enjoying their summer barbecues, but to do so safely.

For this reason, as part of its ongoing Summer Fire Safety Campaign, NFRS has put together some safety tips about safe barbecue use.

The campaign was launched earlier this summer to help highlight the fire risks posed in hot, dry conditions on grassland, including woodland, crops, domestic gardens and farmland.

District Liaison Officer Tina Collett said: “This summer has been a real mix of hot sun and sudden downpours, but we know this is the season when people love to prepare outdoor feasts for their family and friends.
“We would once again like to urge people to please take note of our safety advice which includes tips such as positioning your barbecue safely away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs and garden waste to prevent any unplanned fires from breaking out. It is important also to remember just how long it can take for a barbecue to cool down properly. So often, the discarded embers of barbecues then cause accidental fires.”

Barbecue safety messages:

  • Only have barbecues in designated areas and avoid setting any open fires in the countryside
  • Always stay with a barbecue and do not leave it unattended. Never use accelerants such as petrol or paraffin on or near barbecues or fires
  • Whether at home or elsewhere, make sure barbecues are kept away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste
  • Barbecues can remain hot for a very long time. Ensure they are cold and have been extinguished properly before disposal.
  • Keeping a bucket of water handy, or having a garden hose nearby is a useful precaution
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue or any cooking
  • Never use a barbecue indoors. There have been incidents, nationally, with people bringing barbecues into enclosed spaces, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and start a fire

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