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How to make sure you're safe when barbecuing this summer

Safety advice has been offered by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service Photo: PA

The World Cup, coupled with warm weather, will make most want to invite their friends over and celebrate with a barbecue.

Cumbria Fire Service is advising how to keep your family and friends safe this summer.

How to barbecue safely:

  • Follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or in a tent, even after the flames have died down. Even if barbecues are not flaming they can continue burning and could lead to carbon monoxide deaths if used indoors.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is on a flat site, well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more (normally around 5cms or 2 inches).
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they're hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
  • Enjoy yourself, but don't drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
Cumbria Fire Service advises children and animals to be kept away from barbecues Credit: PA

Gas barbecues:

  • 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 off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up.
Lots of people are expected to be barbecuing this summer due to warm weather and the World Cup Credit: PA

'Using petrol to light your barbecue or leaving it unattended are two of the most common mistakes people make. Every summer this results in firefighters being called to fires caused by barbecues that have got out of control.

While of course we want people to enjoy themselves and don't want to ruin anybody's fun, we do want those having barbecues to be aware of the potential fire dangers and take a few simple steps to keep them and their friends and family safe.'

– Ian Cartwright, Cumbria's Chief Fire Officer

For more advice, visit:

Fire Service - Barbecue safety (including building an open fire and camping)

NHS - Barbecue food safety

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