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Fire service issues safety warning for hot Easter weekend

Sunshine for the weekend prompts fire safety advice to ensure fun packed barbecues in the sun

WITH THERMOMETERS climbing and warm and sunny weather predictions over the Easter bank holiday weekend, a local fire service has issued a plea to take care with barbecues, to avoid any risk of fire, or injury.

According to the Met Office, the weather forecast for London and the South East today (Good Friday) is very warm and sunny, with the risk of the odd sharp shower.

Mainly fine, dry and warm conditions for most parts of the UK are expected over the Easter weekend.

For those unearthing their barbecues from winter hibernation, station manager, Ian Wadmore, of the community safety team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, offered the following precautionary advice: "With the weather so good for activities, such as barbecues, it's only natural to want to be outside, enjoying it with family and friends. But there are dangers that lurk behind such fun pursuits.

"Using petrol to light your barbecue or leaving it unattended are two of the most common mistakes people make."

Other top barbecue safety tips include:

- Place barbecue's on level ground, away from the house, sheds, fences, garden furniture and overhanging trees or shrubs, and leave people plenty of room to squeeze past.

- Only use approved barbecue fuel or fire lighters - never use petrol, or paraffin, keep children, pets and garden games well away from the cooking area, and never leave the barbecue unattended.

- Chef's should not drink (inflammable) alcohol while they are cooking and take care while cooking fatty foods - fat spilling onto the coals might cause a flare up.

- Only empty the barbecue when cool and empty spent ash on to bare garden soil - never put it in the dustbin.

- For gas barbecues, make sure the controls and cylinder valve are turned off before you change the cylinder. If you think there is a leak in the gas cylinder connections, or pipe, simply brush soapy water over the joints and watch out for bubbles, before tightening leaky joints.

- After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before the barbecue controls, to use up leftover gas in pipes, and store gas cylinders outside and away from frost and sunlight.

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