Fire up the BBQ, not your home,

As the temperature rises ahead of a warm and sunny weekend, firefighters from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) are urging people to enjoy the weather safely.

As hundreds of families plan outdoor activities, crews are asking them to make sure their barbecues are safe and happy events.

AF&RS Station Manager for Community Safety, John Rides, said: “Cooking food outside can be a great way to enjoy the warm weather but it is vital that everyone using a barbecue does so safely. Barbecues can be very volatile and quickly get out of control.

“Just a few simple steps, like keeping a bucket of water close by, never leaving the barbecue unattended and keeping it well away from shrubs and fencing, can help to ensure a happy event doesn’t turn to tragedy. Many injuries caused by barbecues happen because inappropriate lighting methods or fuels like paraffin and petrol have been used. Only recognised lighters and starter fuels should be used.

“If you do have a barbecue which gets out of control, don’t try to tackle it yourself as you risk getting burnt or scalded. Dial 999 and ask for the fire service. We have the right equipment and training to deal with emergencies of this kind and will be on our way in minutes.”

For more about BBQ safety and to hear what happened to a man whose barbecue got out of control, leaving him needing hospital treatment for burns click here.

Safety tips:

  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby.
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or in a poorly ventilated area.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more (normally around 5cms or 2 inches).
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they're hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
  • Enjoy yourself, but don't drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels.

Gas barbecues

  • Never store gas cylinders in the home.
  • 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 in a well-ventilated area.