HEREFORD and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is asking the public to take extra care when cooking outside especially when lighting barbecues.

As warmer and sunnier weather is forecast for the weekend, the fire service is urging people to be sensible and mindful of using barbecues.

Emma Roberts, HWFRS prevention manager, said: “It’s natural to want to go outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather with family and friends - many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit. We all know how tempting it can be to give stubborn coals a helping hand, but, please be patient and make sure you use the right tools for the job.

“And if you’ve planned a barbecue and the weather lets you down, don’t take the barbecue indoors or into a tent. In recent years, some people have sadly succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning as a result, so we are urging everyone to stay safe this summer.”

The fire service is urging people to follow their list of top tips over the bank holiday weekend:

  • never leave a lit barbecue unattended
  • follow the safety instructions provided with disposable barbecues
  • never use a barbecue indoors
  • make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste
  • keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area
  • after cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it
  • use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, but not more
  • empty ashes on to 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

Emma added: “This may seem a long list but most of these things are common sense. By far the biggest danger is the use of flammable liquids to light the barbecue. We have had a couple of occasions where people have poured petrol on to the charcoal in an effort to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous. Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early. Most of all, enjoy yourself safely.”

Further safety advice can be found at or by calling the Prevention Team on 0800 032 1155