When the sun comes out, it's tempting to dust off the barbecue (BBQ) and enjoy cooking on an open fire. However, barbecues can be dangerous if not handled responsibly, so it’s important to keep safety in mind at all times.
- Never use a barbecue (including disposables) indoors or on your balcony.
- Don't cook in communal areas. Have your barbecues in a private space, away from neighbours and well away from sheds, fences, trees or shrubs.
- Have a fire extinguisher close to hand and know how to use it. You also need to know how to cut the gas supply, and it's a good idea to know how to treat a burn.
- Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area.
- Never leave your barbecue unattended.
- Smoke can get in hair, clothes, eyes and lungs, but also contains carbon monoxide and other dangerous substances. So, it's best to keep your distance whenever possible.
- Wash your hands before preparing food, after touching raw meat and before eating.
- Grilling gloves and utensils with a long handle will keep arms and hands safe from flames.
- Check food is cooked: Ideally burgers, chicken and sausages should be tested with a meat thermometer before eating and no pink meat should be visible. Serve food steaming hot.
- After you have finished cooking, check the charcoal is cold or the gas has been turned off. Barbecues can stay hot for hours, so be really careful moving them. Store your barbecue in a safe, dry place and not on your balcony.
And remember, if you're having a party, tell your neighbours about your plans in advance; perhaps even invite them along. Keep music to a reasonable level and don’t play it outside. And also don’t forget that voices can carry further at night.
See more advice on safer barbecues from London Fire Brigade.