A warning about being safe with barbecues has been issued by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service

The service is expecting many more people to have barbecues now that the school holidays are underway and the weather has improved.

Its advice is:

Keep young children well away from the barbecue;

Keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose handy in case of emergency;

Stand portable barbecues on an even surface and make sure they are away from the house, fences or shed;

Don’t place the barbecue on dry grass or vegetation;

Use only approved lighter fuels - never petrol or paraffin;

Make sure you never smoke around any fuel source;

Lighter fuels must only be applied before lighting;

Make sure matches are extinguished before disposing of them;

Remember to light your charcoal an hour before you start cooking;

Don’t be over generous with the charcoal;

Be careful with fatty foods and never pour oil onto meat when it is cooking;

Make sure alcohol doesn’t affect your ability to act safely whilst cooking;

Never pour petrol on any barbecue to try to re-ignite it – start the process again with firelighters or barbecue fuel;

After you have finished cooking, extinguish the burning coals. Then leave one to three hours to check that the fire is completely out. DO NOT dispose of the embers into a wheelie bin or other container until you are completely sure they are cold;

Make sure the controls and cylinder valves of a gas barbecue are turned off before you store it away. Store your cylinder in a well ventilated area and check connections for leaks.

Station manager Kathy Collis, from the community safety department, said: “This may seem a long list, but most of these things are common sense.

"Just last year we were called to a house fire that started with hot coals being tipped into a wheelie bin.

"By taking a bit more time to prepare the barbecue well in advance, and then allowing the embers to fully cool afterwards, you can significantly reduce the risk to your safety."

For additional information on home fire safety, visit the Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service website at www.wiltsfire.gov.uk