We’ve had a great glimpse of summer lately as the sun has been out this week!  I’ve seen plenty of people dashing to the shops to collect burgers and sausages in the hope of having their first barbecue of the year.

With any luck this great weather will stick around long enough for us all to enjoy it, but remember to take care.

The North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service state on their website that over 193,000 incidents are caused by outdoor fires each year, causing hundreds of injuries.  Many are due to carelessness around barbecues and bonfires.  As you prepare for your outdoor parties and barbecues, here are a few barbecue safety tips to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time in the sun.


To avoid injuries and damage to property

– Make sure your barbecue is in good working order before you start.

– Keep your grill clean by removing build ups of grease and fat.

– Ensure you place your barbecue on a flat surface, out of the way of where people will be moving and a safe distance from buildings, sheds, shrubs and fences.

– Never use a barbecue indoors or on balconies.

– Keep children, garden games and pets away from the cooking area.

– Never leave the barbecue unattended.

– Try not to get distracted or drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.

– Keep a bucket of sand or water on hand in case of emergencies.

– Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it.


Disposable barbecues

– Follow the included instructions carefully.

– Place on a flat surface of bricks or concrete.

– Keep well away from houses, fences and particularly tents.

– Do not use on or near public benches.

– When disposing, make sure it is completely cool.  Ideally leave for several hours before moving, and douse with water to ensure the fire is completely out.


Charcoal barbecues

– Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches)

– Use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals.  Use as few of these as possible.

– Never put hot ash in bins.  Empty cold ash onto bare garden soil.


Gas barbecues

– Make sure the tap is turned off before changing cylinders.  Also change cylinders in an open air space.

– If you suspect a gas leak, brush the pipe with soapy water and look for bubbles appearing.  Tighten to fix, but do not over tighten.

– If you smell gas while cooking, and the leak does not stop, get away from the barbecue and immediately call the fire brigade.  Do not try to move it.

– After cooking, turn off gas at cylinder first, then off at the barbecue controls.  This will make sure any excess gas in the pipes in used up.

– Store your gas cylinders outside and protect from frost and sunlight.  Never store gas cylinders under stairs.


Be carbon monoxide aware

Never use fuel burning equipment inside a tent, camper of other enclosed shelters.  This includes barbecues, camping stoves and heaters.

Opening doors and windows does not provide sufficient ventilation.


By far the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue.  Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early.