Summer has now officially commenced and our series of safety features continues with an insight into fire safety when barbecuing.

Fire hazards are always a risk and we must take extra precautions when cooking al fresco. Heat and flames must be carefully controlled to avoid burns, scalds and more serious injuries.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), many hundreds of accidents that occur in the garden each year are barbecue-related. Last time figures were collected through the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System (HASS/LASS), an estimated 1,800 people visited A&E in the UK having had an accident involving a barbecue.

It is therefore vital that we realise the risks involved with cooking with fire. Barbecues may be a great time to socialise with family and friends but, without being managed properly, can quickly lead to unnecessary incidents and potential injury.

Fire safety when cooking with coals is a prerequisite and RoSPA advises that we take the following precautions when barbecuing so that we remain safe this summer:

  • When choosing a barbecue, stability is essential – make sure that the barbecue is strong and sturdy
  • Check that the barbecue is in good condition, particularly if you have not used it for some time; inspect for loose or damaged parts requiring adjustment or repair
  • Consider the location – always place the barbecue on level ground, away from fences, sheds and overhanging trees which could catch fire
  • Never light a barbecue in an enclosed space! Do not take the barbecue indoors or into a tent because of the extreme danger of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Prepare the barbecue early to ensure it is at the right temperature by the time you want to start cooking and never leave the barbecue unattended
  • Particular care should be taken in hot, dry weather to reduce the risk of starting a grass fire
  • NEVER pour petrol or other accelerants on to a barbecue! Some of the most serious barbecue-related accidents happen when people do this and the barbecue ‘explodes’ in their face
  • Use long-handled tools to avoid burns or scalds to your hands or arms
  • Be careful of steam when opening foil parcels – the temperature can rise significantly and the steam could scald you
  • Remember that the metal parts of a barbecue can become hot – don’t try to move it until it has cooled down
  • Don’t leave children unsupervised near a barbecue! Hot coals and fire are extremely dangerous
  • Make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished before you leave it
  • Take care when throwing away a disposable barbecue or barbecue coals – ensure they have cooled down before placing them in a bin.

The information contained in this article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official food safety, health & safety nor fire safety advice.

“Calibri W01 Light”;color:#5F5F5D”>Food Alert take no responsibility if the information in the article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Food Alert services please do call our team on 020 7244 1900 or email





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