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Commercial Services



BBQ safety

How to use a BBQ safely

Barbecues can be a fun way to cook outside. We want to help you barbecue as safely as possible so follow our advice on where to use barbecues, how to use them and what to do with them after you’ve finished cooking. We also have advice for gas barbecues.

1) Where to have a BBQ

BBQs are best used in a garden at home. Make sure you put it in a well ventilated area which is away from anything that could catch fire e.g. sheds, trees, bushes, compost bins or your house. Balconies are not a safe place to have a BBQ.

Disposable BBQs need to be placed on something flat which won’t catch alight e.g. stone/paving slabs. The bottom of the BBQ gets very hot and can easily burn what’s underneath.

Do not take disposable BBQs into the countryside or onto the beach with you. We’ve seen a large number of wildfires caused by disposable BBQs that have been left behind once someone has finished with them.

There are laws against BBQs in certain areas. It is safer to keep your BBQs for your garden.

2) Lighting a BBQ

  • Follow the guidance provided with your BBQ on how to light it quickly and safely.
  • Never use petrol, white spirit, paraffin or other flammable liquids to light your BBQ.
  • Charcoal BBQs - Only use enough charcoal to cover the base of a BBQ. A depth of about 5 centimetres (2 inches) is sufficient for cooking and keeps the fire loading to a minimum.
  • Gas BBQs - If using a gas BBQ then take care when turning bottled gas BBQs on and off.
    1. Ensure that the valve is sealed correctly with no leaks (you can test this with soapy water).
    2. Ensure the fire is extinguished when removing the gas valve and ensure it is turned off prior to removal.

3) Once your BBQ is lit

  • Stay with your BBQ at all times. Never leave it unattended.
  • Make sure you have a bucket of water or sand nearby to put the BBQ out quickly.
  • Keep children, pets and anyone who’s had a few alcoholic drinks away from the BBQ.
  • Don’t use petrol, paraffin, white spirit on your BBQ.

4) After your BBQ has finished

Coals and BBQ containers can stay hot for hours after you’ve finished cooking. You can help cool your BBQ down by using water or a bucket of sand to remove some of the heat. Do not move a BBQ until it has cooled down and never throw it in a bin or compost heap until you’re sure that it is completely cool. Even a small amount of warmth can start a bin fire and cause significant damage.

If using a gas BBQ, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbecue control. This will stop any gas from leaking.

Don't put BBQs in your car or tent

As BBQs cool they release carbon monoxide which can be deadly. Don’t put BBQs in your tent or car as this could put your life at risk.

Gas barbecues

  • If using a gas BBQ, make sure the gas is turned off before changing the gas cylinder and always change cylinders outside and in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do not use the BBQ if you suspect a gas leak.
  • Ensure your gas BBQ is correctly serviced and make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
  • Store gas cylinders outside and protect them from direct sunlight and frost. Do not store more cylinders than you need.


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