Barbecue Safety

Be cool

Be cool when you barbecue, so you can enjoy yourself safely.

Please follow these simple tips to avoid injuries or damage to your property from fire and have Barbecue Fun!


  • Barbecues must be placed on a non ignitable flat surface and away from fences, trees and sheds
  • A depth of about 5cms (2 inches) or just enough charcoal to cover the base of your barbecue should be used
  • Remember never use petrol or paraffin to start, or revive, your barbecue – use only barbecue fire lighters or starter fuel on cold coals
  • Be prepared – ensure water is easily accessible to put a fire out
  • Enjoy yourself, but drink responsibly. If you are in charge of the barbecue watch what you are drinking
  • Children, pets and garden games must be kept away from the cooking area
  • Unattended barbecues cause fires
  • Ensure your barbecue is cool before moving it after cooking
  • Following your barbecue, empty the ashes into a metal container or onto soil not into dustbins or wheelie bins – warm or hot ash can melt the plastic and cause a fire
  • Understand and follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues
  • Never barbecue indoors – this includes your garage or tent. Carbon Monoxide Kills

Gas barbecues – additional tips

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 in the open air
  • don’t over-tighten joints
  • when you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the barbecue controls – this means any gas in the pipeline will be used up
  • read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to check for leaks in the cylinder or pipework, eg brushing soapy water around all joints and looking for bubbles

Storing gas cylinders

Don’t keep more cylinders than you need. Gas cylinders should be kept outside, away from direct sunlight and frost. If you have 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 escape route.