Churchill magazine

How to stay fire-safe in your garden

Updated on: 4 May 2021

A fire burns in a fire pit.

Summer is a great time to make the most of your outdoor spaces. Yet accidents can happen, especially at barbecue events or around garden fires.

But you don’t need to ban the barbecue. Simply follow some basic safety advice on how to organise and supervise your events and garden routines.

Tips for barbecue safety

  • Place your barbecue on level ground where it shouldn't tip over.
  • Keep barbecues away from objects such as your house, shed, garage, fences, gates and garden furniture.
  • Keep barbecues away from overhanging trees, shrubs and grasses.
  • Don’t place barbecues anywhere that means people have to squeeze past them.
  • Use approved barbecue fuel and firelighters, never petrol or paraffin.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games well away from the cooking area.
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Don’t move or store your barbecue until it has cooled.
  • With gas barbecues, make sure the controls and cylinder valve are turned off before you attempt to change it – and change it in a well-ventilated place.
  • A leak in a gas cylinder can be tested by brushing soapy water over the joints and watching out for bubbles. You can then fix or change it.
  • With gas barbecues, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbecue controls – this makes sure any leftover gas is used up.
  • Store gas cylinders outside and protect them from frost and direct sunlight. And don’t keep more than you need, as they are flammable.

Tips for garden fire safety

  • Don’t light fires when it’s windy.
  • Don’t build fires near your house, shed, garage, fences or hedges.
  • Don’t use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Never burn rubbish such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries.
  • Keep a bucket of water or hosepipe handy for putting out flames.
  • Keep children or animals a safe distance from fire and check for anything nesting or hiding in the pile before you light it.
  • Never leave a fire unattended – if you must leave it, then damp it down first.

If a fire should get out of hand or someone gets hurt, call the emergency services at once. If any part of your home, outbuildings, shed, garage or their contents should be damaged then you may be able to claim through your home insurance.

For a full list of terms, conditions and exclusions see our policy documents online.

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