London Fire Brigade

Barbecue safety

All you need to know to barbecue safely

When the sun comes out or it’s dry for a while, Londoners love to fire up their barbecues and cook outdoors.

Marinating your chicken and making sure your sausages don’t burn isn’t the only thing you need to be thinking about. If you follow our tips you’ll be able to barbecue safely until your heart's content.

What chefs need to know

  • Never use a barbecue indoors or on a balcony
  • Make sure barbecues are placed on level ground where they will not tip over
  • Keep barbecues away from your home, sheds, fences, garden furniture, trees, shrubs and tents
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue
  • Don't put the barbecue where people have to squeeze past it
  • Keep children, pets and garden games well away from the cooking area
  • Never leave the barbecue unattended
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues
  • Only use approved barbecue fuel or fire lighters - never use petrol or paraffin

After you’ve cooked

  • When you have finished cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before you try to move it
  • Empty the cold ash onto bare garden soil – never put it in the dustbin
  • Where possible, keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies

Tips for gas barbecues

  • Take extra care when turning bottled gas barbecues on and off
  • Make sure the controls and the gas cylinder valve are turned off before you change the cylinder
  • Make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure
  • Change the gas cylinder in the open air
  • 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 protected from frost and sunlight
  • Never store gas cylinders under the stairs- if there is a fire they might explode and block your escape route
  • 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 have a leaky joint, try to tighten it (but don't over tighten it) and test for bubbles again. If unsure do not use the barbecue – seek specialist advice