Barbecue (and balcony) safety

With summer fast approaching and the temperature starting to rise, we understand that people’s minds are going to start turning to barbecues.

While we know it is a staple of the season for many of you, we need to remind you that we are still observing social distancing measures and, as such, you should not have barbecues in shared gardens or outdoor space around your home. The rules will revert to normal once social distancing measures are fully relaxed.

Over recent years we have seen an increase in people having barbecues on their balcony. This is dangerous at any time, as well as violating our tenancy and leasehold agreements.

London Fire Brigade are aware that “balcony BBQs” are on sale, but they strongly advise against their use. Just because they are advertised as such, does not mean they are safe to use.

Mark Hazelton, community safety group manager for LFB, says: “We urge people not to light barbecues on their balconies. Balconies are often enclosed and it’s easy for barbecues to get out of control and cause a fire which can then spread to other properties.”

In terms of other fire safety advice regarding balconies:

• If you smoke outdoors on your balcony, always ensure that cigarettes are fully extinguished and disposed of properly.

• If you live in a block of flats, please don’t use your balcony as extra storage space. While it can be handy, balconies packed with flammable items can cause a fire to spread much more quickly.

• Keep an eye on what is around your balcony doors, as direct sunlight coming through the glass can spark a fire.

Charlie Pugsley, head of LFB’s fire investigation team, said: “This sort of incident isn’t as rare as you would think. I’ve seen everything from sparkly doorknobs and crystal balls to glass fish bowls and Nutella jars containing crystals all start fires.

“Crystal and glass ornaments, as well as items such as shaving mirrors, should be kept out of direct sunlight.”

• Do not block or cover over smoke detectors.