Barbecue advice for Bank Holiday weekend

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

The warning comes following a fire at a family barbeque in Crawley on Wednesday. Firefighters were called to the house in Pound Hill just before 1pm after a barbecue and gas cylinder caught light in the back garden. Luckily nobody was hurt and fire crews were able to bring the blaze under control.

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.

The service’s community fire safety officer Jackie Boyle, said: “With the Bank Holidays coming up and many people celebrating the royal wedding, having a barbecue with friends and family is a great way to socialise and make the most of the sunshine. Whether you are barbecuing at home or getting out into the Sussex countryside, following a few common sense tips should ensure that everyone enjoys themselves safely.”

Barbecue basics:

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

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

. Keep barbecues 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 barbecue unattended at any time

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

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

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

Gas barbecues:

. For bottled gas barbecues 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 barbecue 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 or call the Community Fire Safety Team on 01243 642879.