Essex County Fire and Rescue Service



Every year the fire service are called to a number of fires that are started by using a barbecue. Barbeques can be dangerous if not handled responsibly, so it's important to keep safety in mind, especially when kids and pets are around.  

Follow our advice to stay safe this summer: 

Disposable Barbeques 

  • Always place them on an even surface on either bricks or paving slabs and well away from the house, shed or fences. 
  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbeques. Never use a barbecue indoors 
  • If you're using a disposable barbeque ensure it has cooled before putting it in the bin. To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and then consider pouring water over it to make sure it's out. 


Charcoal Barbeques 

  • Use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbeque 
  • Only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals - use the minimum necessary and never use petrol. 
  • Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin - they could melt the plastic and cause a fire. 


Gas Barbeques 

  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder 
  • Change cylinders outdoors if possible or in a well ventilated area 
  • If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles - tighten to fix but do not overtighten 
  • After cooking, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbeque control. This will stop any gas from leaking 
  • Store gas cylinders outside, away from direct sunlight and frost 


Be carbon monoxide aware 

Never use fuel-burning devices (e.g. disposable barbeques, camping stoves, camping heaters, lanterns, and charcoal grills) inside a tent. They give off fumes for hours and hours after you have used them - levels high enough to result in CO poisoning. 

To avoid hazardous CO exposures, fuel-burning equipment should never be used inside a tent, camper, or other enclosed shelter. 

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