Stop and think before you flash up is the message for barbecue enthusiasts this summer.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) and Portsmouth City Council have joined forces to underline essential safety steps to take when lighting up, especially if people are planning to use disposable barbecues in public spaces, like the city’s seafront.
HIWFRS deals with at least 50 barbecue and bin fire-related incidents around the seafront and Southsea Common each year between April and September, with the frequency of these incidents increasing in warm weather.
In recent years there have also been a number of incidents recorded by Colas, Portsmouth City Council’s highway maintenance partner, of public bins being burnt out by disposable barbecues thrown away while still partially alight.
And with coronavirus rules allowing more people to get together and socialise outside, and the hope of good weather ahead, a bumper barbecue summer is anticipated, increasing the risk of fires.
Firefighters will visit Southsea Common and the seafront throughout the summer to talk to people about barbecue safety in an effort to prevent the number of call-outs the service receives to the area.
Southsea Watch Manager, Chris Norgate, said:
“As lockdown restrictions start to ease and more people make the most of the warmer weather, it’s important that everyone stays safe and reduces the risk of fires.
“The embers in disposable barbecues stay hot for a long time and can easily set alight to other rubbish when placed in a bin.
“Please make sure your barbecue has completely cooled down before disposing of it and use the designated barbecue areas.”
Councillor Ben Dowling, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and economic development, said:
“Taking a few simple steps can help reduce the risk of fire or injury and help look after our outside spaces. If you’re planning a get-together in public places, like the seafront, it’s especially important to stick to the dedicated barbecue zones, which have plenty of space and specific barbecue-friendly bins.
“Using these areas reduces the risks to others, helps to tackle litter, and limits damage to grass and wildlife in open spaces.”
People are being reminded to:
• Stick to dedicated barbecue zones and be considerate to others
• Make sure you have a secure, level base – use a barbecue with a stand, paving slab or even bricks
• Find a place away from hedges, trees and buildings
• Do not light your barbecue with petrol or other flammable materials that are not specifically recommended
• Do not leave your barbecue unattended and keep children and pets away
• If you’re using a disposable barbecue make sure it is fully extinguished and cold before putting it in a bin
Visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/safety/leisure-and-lifestyle/bbqs/ for more information and advice on barbecue and fire safety and search barbecue zones at www.portsmouth.gov.uk