Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Beware Brave Barbequers

This weekend traditionally marks the start of the county’s barbeque season as people head outdoors to enjoy the weather and cook in their gardens.

It might not seem like ideal barbequing conditions right now but the weather is set to improve this weekend and a few brave souls might still head out to cook in the garden.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick said: “We all enjoy a barbeque but by taking a few simple precautions you can make sure that everyone barbeques safely.

The key things to remember when using a barbeque are:

  • 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.

Gas barbecues

  • 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.

Also never drink when you are barbequing, always keep a clear head around fire.

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