Public warned on barbecue safety as summer approaches
The arrival of warm, sunny days has been welcomed by most in Lincolnshire.
However, as the onset of summer sees people heading straight for the garden and sparking up the barbecue, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue are calling for county residents to follow guidelines to keep them safe.
Community fire safety manager Lee Marsh, said: "Whether you are using a charcoal or gas-fuelled barbecue, the first thing we ask people to do is think carefully about where they are putting it.
"Make sure the ground is flat and properly prepared, and before you light it, ensure the barbecue is in a safe place and not close to hedges, trees, fencing or even guttering or garden furniture."
Lee also urged people to use the right equipment to light their barbecue and, most importantly, to leave them outside.
"The biggest mistake we see at this time of year is that people take their barbecue under cover, or in some case, even inside," he said.
"We see it especially with the smaller, disposable barbecues, but we would strongly advise people never to do this.
"As well as the risk of a fire, there is also the chance that people can be overcome by gasses like carbon monoxide.
"We also advise against the use of flammable liquids once the barbecue is lit to get it going quicker.
"People have been known to use petrol or paraffin on their charcoal, but this is extremely dangerous and can lead to flames flashing up and causing serious injury.
"Try to ensure you have a bucket of water close to the BBQ in case you need to dowse any flames.
"Lastly, what can be a relatively minor incident can often be exaggerated if those in attendance have been having a drink.
"We recommend that anyone in charge of the cooking should stay away from the alcohol."
The summer months also see an increase in incidents because of discarded cigarettes setting light to dry grass and foliage.
"People naturally want to spend more time outdoors in the hot weather and it can lead to problems when people discard their cigarettes," added Lee.
"Warm, sunny weather is a rare treat for us in Lincolnshire and we hope it's here to stay so we can all enjoy it, so follow a few simple guidelines to help keep your family safe."