If you are planning a BBQ this weekend, or perhaps a bonfire to burn off some garden rubbish, remember to site them well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden sheds.
Before you set the match to the charcoal, or turn on the gas cylinder, here are some top tips from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to help keep you safe.
• Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues. Never use a barbecue indoors.
• 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.
• Never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue; use only recognised lighters or starter fuels on cold coals.
• 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.
• Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
• Never store gas cylinders under the stairs – if there is a fire they might explode and block your escape route.
• 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 or in a well-ventilated area.
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