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Christmas fire safety

Barbecue Safety This Summer

Now that the warm, light evenings are with us and the summer holidays are fast approaching, barbecues are beginning to sizzle across Island.

But behind the bangers and burgers, summer fun has a serious side. the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, is asking everyone to take extra care when cooking al fresco, especially when lighting barbecues or dealing with bad weather.

Bev Whorwood, Community and Road Safety 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."

By following the Fire Kills campaign’s top tips you can ensure your barbecue is a safe, enjoyable event.

  • 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 onto 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.

In closing Bev Whorwood said: “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 occasions where people have poured petrol onto 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”.

Chimney Fire Safety


Make sure that your chimney is ready for the winter months early.  As part of the national Fire Kills campaign, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Servce are urging householders to ensure their chimney is safe and to have their chimney swept by a registered chimney sweep. 

Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience.  With the numbers of people using open fires growing, the Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips for safer chimneys.        

  • Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers        
  • Make sure embers are properly put out  before you go to bed        
  • Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained

Station Manager Beverley Whorwood, Prevention Manager explains:  “With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again.  In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home."

  • Smokeless coals At least once a year
  • Wood Up to four times a year
  • Bituminous coal Twice a year
  • Oil Once a year
  • Gas Once a year

Station Manager Whorwood  adds: “Latest statistics show that there were 6,000 chimney fires England in 2013/14, but most chimney fires are preventable.  

“All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they’re free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisonings so it’s very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep.

For more information on fire safety, please visit the following social media sites:


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You can also view the 'Don't drink and fry' campaign on Youtube, by clicking here or the 'Hot Date' campaign on Youtube, by clicking here.