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'Don't hold barbecues on your balcony' warn fire service

10 June 2020

If you have a barbecue on your balcony you could have more to worry about than burnt burgers.

While we are all spending more time at home during the COVID-19 crisis it is tempting when the weather is nice to have a barbecue.

If you live in a flat and your only outside space is your balcony the flames and heat from a barbecue could have disastrous consequences.

Remember if you use or store something on your balcony that endangers the safety of your neighbours or damages the fabric of the building you could be held liable for your actions.

Our advice to residents living flats is NOT to use barbecues on your balconies, and this advice is echoed by Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS).

Joanne Cook, Community Safety & Safeguarding Manager for BFRS, said: “Poorly positioned barbecues or barbecues left unattended pose a real risk of fire spreading to fencing, hedges, or buildings including sheds. Disposable barbecues used directly on the dry grass or decking carry an additional risk of fire as heat is conducted down through the metal tray.

“Whilst we do not want to stop people making the most of warm weather, we would encourage people to think about where they position their barbecue to stop what could be a devastating fire.

“There are multiple risks in using a barbecue on a balcony where toys, garden furniture, decking or willow screening or other items that could catch fire may be too close and an incident can rapidly get out of hand, spreading to neighbouring balconies or flats. We would ask people never to use a barbecue on a balcony.”

Barbecue safety tips:

  • Never use a barbecue indoors or in an unventilated space as there is a real risk of creating dangerous carbon monoxide gas
  • Position your barbecue on level ground and keep it well away from anything that may catch fire (sheds, decking, willow screening, fences, trees, tents etc.)
  • If your barbecue is disposable, raise it off the ground with a purpose-built stand or place it on bricks
  • Never use petrol to help start a barbecue
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the barbecue
  • Have a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergency use
  • Do not dispose of barbecue coals in your wheelie bin until they are totally cold
  • Never to use a barbecue on a balcony.

You can find out more about staying safe in your home here.

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