Barbecue safety advice from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service


Sizzle safely this barbecue season

Now that the warm, light evenings are with us and the summer holidays are fast approaching, barbecues are beginning to sizzle across Merseyside.

But behind all the bangers and burgers, summer fun has a serious side and the warmer weather brings with it some unique risks.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, as part of a campaign by Fire Kills, is asking everyone to take extra care when cooking outd0ors, especially when lighting barbecues or dealing with bad weather.

Gary Oakford, group manager at MF&RS, said “It’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather with family and friends and many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit.

“We all know how tempting it can be to give stubborn coals a helping hand with an accelerant, but please be patient and make sure you use the right tools for the job.

“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 sadly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning by doing this, so we urge everyone to stay safe.”

By following Fire Kills’s top tips you can ensure your barbecue is a safe, enjoyable event:

  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more.
  • 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.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.


“This might seem like a long checklist but most of these tips are common sense and, by following them, you can guarantee a safe and happy occasion,” added GM Oakford.

“By far, the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light barbecues. People have been known to pour petrol on to the charcoal in an effort to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and dangerous.

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


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