Barbecue safely this summer

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

But behind the bangers and burgers, summer fun has a serious side.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, is asking everyone to take extra care when cooking al fresco, especially when lighting barbecues or dealing with bad weather.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS Prevention manager, said: “It’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather with family and friends – 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, but, please be patient and make sure you use the right tools for the job.

“And 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 as a result, so we are urging everyone to stay safe this summer.”

By following the Fire Kills campaign’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 on to 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

In closing, Emma Roberts said: “This may seem a long list but most of these things are common sense. By far the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue. We have had a couple of occasions where people have poured petrol on to the charcoal in an effort to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous. Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early. Most of all, enjoy yourself safely.”

For more information on fire safety, please visit

Further safety advice can be found at or by calling the Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155.