How to enjoy the Great British barbecue - without the fire risk

BBQ The enticing aroma of sausages and burgers sizzling on hot coals signals the arrival of the Great British barbecue season once again, regardless of the weather.

Gathering friends and family for a garden barbie in the (hopefully) warm sunshine has become a beloved pastime across the country. This trend has even inspired the launch of a new TV cooking competition.

However, the joy of socializing with loved ones can sometimes lead to distractions, which could have serious consequences.

Recently, four fire crews and 21 firefighters responded to a blaze in southwest London. An unattended barbecue had caused a shed and gardens to catch fire after the owner briefly went inside to fetch food. Upon returning, they found the fire had spread, engulfing the garden and damaging the house and fencing of three adjacent properties. Thankfully, no one was injured, but it remains uncertain whether the homeowner's insurance will cover the damage.

Accidental damage isn't always covered by standard insurance policies, and some instances might even be considered as deliberate damage or negligence, leaving the homeowner responsible for the cost of repairs.

To help prevent such incidents, here are some tips for your clients:

  • Whether you are using charcoal or gas, always ensure the barbecue is fully prepared before lighting, and never leave it unattended.
  • Place the barbecue on level ground, away from flammable materials like fences, overhanging trees and sheds.
  • Only use approved barbecue fuel or firelighters – never petrol or paraffin.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is completely cool before moving it.
  • Never dispose of spent ash in a dustbin.
  • If using gas, store the cylinders outside, away from direct sunlight and frost.
  • Always turn off the tap when not in use or before changing the cylinder.
  • After cooking, turn off the gas supply first, then the barbecue control to prevent gas leaks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.

Additionally, it is always a good idea to remind your clients about basic fire safety precautions, as the majority (over 88%) of home fires are accidental according to the latest government statistics.

The main cause of these fires is the misuse of equipment and appliances, with cooking appliances being the primary source of ignition.

Above all, it is vital to emphasise to your clients the importance of having smoke alarms installed in their homes. Homes without smoke alarms accounted for 25% of all home fires in Great Britain, and 28% of all home fire-related fatalities.

By following these simple steps, your clients reduce the risk of fires this summer whilst continuing to enjoy one of our country’s favourite traditions.

Happy barbecuing!

Brian Coulton 
Strategic Partnerships Director at Pivotal Growth & First2Protect

t. 07989 496788

Brian Coulton Brian Coulton

Strategic Partnerships Director at Pivotal Growth & First2Protect

Brian Coulton is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in the financial intermediary market. He began his career at Paymentshield, later joining Source Insurance in 2008 where he held senior roles including Head of Sales. In 2020, Brian returned to Paymentshield as National Account Manager, progressing to Strategic Partnership Manager in 2022.

Now a member of Pivotal Growth and First2Protect, Brian is dedicated to helping partners and the broker community maximize their business potential. He focuses on creating sales through exceptional service, advocating as the broker’s broker, supporting and developing brokers’ businesses, working with positivity and integrity, maintaining a can-do attitude, and building longstanding relationships in the intermediary market.