West Sussex fire service says follow barbecue basics

FIREFIGHTERS are reminding people to take a little extra care if they are firing up their barbecues to make sure it’s just their sausages they are sizzling.

The warning comes following two fires involving barbecues within just the last few days. Nobody was hurt in either incident but with the weather hotting up and the Jubilee Bank holiday aproaching, the fire service is offering barbecue basic tips to ensure alfresco dining remains safe.

Each year West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is called to extinguish dozens of blazes where barbecues have got out of hand or coals have been discarded carelessly.

Community Risk Reduction Officer, Jackie Boyle, said:

“With this sudden hot spell and many people planning to celebrate the Jubilee, having a barbeque with friends and family is a great way to socialise and make the most of the sunshine. Whether you are barbequing at home or getting out into the Sussex countryside, following a few common sense tips should ensure that everyone can enjoy themselves safely.”

Barbeque basics:

. Make sure that your barbeque is placed on clear level ground where it will not tip over.

. Use approved barbeque fuel or firelighters to light it, never petrol or paraffin.

. Keep barbeques away from the house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees and shrubs.

. Keep children and pets well away from the cooking area.

. Don’t leave your barbeque unattended at any time.

. Empty any spent ash on to bare soil, not into a dustbin.

. If you are lighting a barbeque in the countryside or on the beach - check beforehand that it is an authorised area.

. When using a disposable barbeque make sure the coals are completely cold before throwing them away.

Gas barbeques:

. For bottled gas barbeques make sure the controls and the cylinder valve are turned off before you change the cylinder.

. If you think there may be a leak in the gas cylinder connections or pipe, brush soapy water over the joints and watch 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 barbeque controls. This makes sure any leftover gas in the pipe is used up.

. Store gas cylinders outside and protect them from frost and direct sunlight. Don’t keep more spare cylinders than you need.

For a full range of fire safety advice visit www.westsussex.gov.uk fire or call the Community Risk Reduction on 01243 642879