London Fire Brigade urges public to take care after attending nearly three barbecue fires a week since April (From Your Local Guardian)

London Fire Brigade is urging the public to take care after attending nearly three barbecue fires a week since April.

The Brigade said they are particularly common as barbecues are often set up near flammable items like sheds, trees or fences.

A few months ago, ten fire engines and 72 firefighters were called to a blaze in Greenford which destroyed a house. The fire is believed to have started after a hot disposable barbecue was left on decking.

Londoners are also being warned not to use barbecues on balconies, as they can easily catch fire and put the lives of all residents inside the building at risk.

London Fire Brigade Group Manager Mark Hazelton said: “It seems crazy we need to tell people not to use barbecues on balconies or indoors, but we clearly do.

“Barbecue fires can spread quickly and could not only damage your home, but could cause serious injury or worse.  By just taking a few simple precautions everyone can get to enjoy their barbecues safely.”

Follow this safety advice and the risk of fire is greatly reduced:

Make sure barbecues are kept away from homes, fences, sheds, garden furniture, trees, shrubs and tents and never left unattended.
Store cylinders safely if you are using gas barbecues, and ensure valves are off before cylinders are changed. Never add barbecue starter fluid or anything flammable to a barbecue once it has been lit.
Barbecues should always be placed on level ground where they won’t tip over, and never leave them sitting on anything that can burn until they’re completely cool.
Children, pets and garden games should be kept well away from the cooking area and it’s never a good idea to drink too much alcohol while in charge of a barbecue.
Make sure barbecues are properly extinguished and ash should never be put in a dustbin.
Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby in case of an emergency.

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