Barbecue Safety

Nothing quite says summer like firing up the barbecue and cooking outdoors – but did you know that Scottish Fire and Rescue Service firefighters attend incidents every year where barbecues have gotten out-of-hand?

Whether you are in the garden or out camping, follow our simple tips to barbecue safely and avoid injuries, damage to property and having Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews gate-crashing your party:

  • Make sure your barbecue site is flat and away from fences, trees and sheds.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, in case of emergencies.
  • Use only enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about five centimetres (two inches).
  • Never use petrol or paraffin to start, or revive, your barbecue – use only barbecue fire lighters or starter fuel on cold coals.
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area.
  • Don't leave the barbecue unattended.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before trying to move it.
  • Hot ashes can melt a plastic wheelie bin and can also cause a fire.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbeque is cool before moving it.
  • Avoid alcohol if you are in charge of a barbeque.


Do you have a gas barbecue?

Follow these extra tips if you are using a gas barbecue:

  • Make sure your barbecue is in good working order.
  • Make sure the tap is off before changing the gas cylinder and do it outdoors or in a well ventilated area.
  • Make sure all joints are safely and securely tightened.
  • After cooking, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbeque control. This will stop any gas from leaking.
  • Read the manufacturer's instructions about how to check for leaks in the cylinder or pipework, e.g. brushing soapy water around all joints and looking for bubbles. 

Storing gas cylinders

Don't ever keep more cylinders than you need. Gas cylinders should be kept outside, away from direct sunlight and frost. If you need to keep them inside your house make sure you don't store them under the stairs. If there is a fire, they could explode and the stairs are likely to be your best escape route.