With the sunny weather encouraging residents to spark up barbecues for the first time this year, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is issuing safety tips to ensure people cook with safety in mind.
This follows a fire yesterday (Monday) where a gas barbecue caught alight and spread out of control in Minster Road, Sheppey.
A fire crew from Sheppey was called to the scene at 5.18pm and found that the fire had spread from the barbecue to the plastic casing of the cylinder below. It then ignited patio decking and a nearby fence, as well as an over hanging tree.
It is believed that the fire was started accidently by fat that had dripped down on the gas cylinder, because a drip tray had not been fitted to the barbecue.
Sheppey Watch Manager Andy Bridger-Smart said: “I would strongly advise people to keep barbecues clean and remove any fat and cooking debris after use to avoid a build up of flammable material which could cause it to burn out of control.
“As this incident highlights, it is also important to position your barbecue well away from any property including sheds, fences or trees that could be catch fire if it gets out of control.”
He added: “We really want residents to enjoy the opportunities the good weather brings, so follow our simple common sense advice, and make sure your barbecue runs smoothly.
“Two of the most common mistakes people make when having a barbecue are using petrol to light it or leaving it unattended. In some instances, this has led to serious injuries and damage to property.”
- Make sure your barbecue is placed on level ground where it will not tip over
- Keep barbecues away from the house, sheds, fences, garden furniture and overhanging trees or shrubs. Don't put the barbecue where people have to squeeze past it.
- Only use approved barbecue fuel or fire lighters. Never use petrol or paraffin.
- Keep children and garden games well away from the cooking area.
- Never leave the barbecue unattended
- If you are the chef, don’t drink too much alcohol while cooking.
- Watch out when you are cooking fatty foods. Lots of fat spilling onto the coals might make them flare up.
- When you have finished cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before you try to move it.
- Empty the spent ash on to bare garden soil - never put it in the dustbin.
- If you are using a bottled gas barbecue, make sure the controls and the cylinder valve are turned off before you change the cylinder.
- Change the cylinder in the open air if you can, otherwise open doors and windows to provide good ventilation.
- If you think there might be a leak in the gas cylinder connections or pipe, brush soapy water over all of the joints and watch out for bubbles. If you find a leaky joint, try to tighten it but don't over tighten it.
- When you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbecue controls. This makes sure any leftover gas in the pipe is used up.
- Store your gas cylinders outside and protect from frost and direct sunlight. Don't keep more spare cylinders than you need.
Further fire safety advice can be obtained from Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Fire Safety team on 0800 923 7000