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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Stay home and stay fire safe this Easter

09 April 2020

Islanders are being reminded to take care if barbecuing this Easter Weekend and whilst in lockdown.

We’ve seen the return of some warm and sunny weather this week and although islanders are being urged to stay home during April we want the public to enjoy it as best they can. Across the island BBQs are beginning to sizzle but behind the bangers and burgers there is a serious side. Jersey Fire and Rescue Service (JFRS) is asking everyone to take extra care when cooking al fresco.
Watch Commander Craig Channing commented: “When we are at home during this period of lockdown and the sun is shining, it’s natural to want to spend time in your garden - many of us can’t wait to get the barbecue lit. We all know how tempting it can be to give stubborn coals a helping hand to get going, or not to bother testing your gas BBQ properly, but please be patient and make sure everything is in working order. 

“Unfortunately, we have already attended three BBQ fires in the last 24 hours and with the warm weather set to stay over the next few days, we want to make sure that islanders are staying home and staying safe whilst doing so, over the Easter Weekend.” 

By following the Jersey Fire and Rescues top tips you can ensure your barbecue is a safe & enjoyable event.
  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs or garden waste.
  • Keep children, pets and garden games away from the cooking area.
  • After cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it.
  • Empty ashes onto bare garden soil, not into dustbins or wheelie bins. If they’re hot, they can melt the plastic and cause a fire.
  • Enjoy yourself, but don’t drink too much alcohol if you are in charge of the barbecue.
  • Always keep a bucket of water, sand or a garden hose nearby for emergencies.
  • Make sure your gas barbecue is in good working order.
  • Read manufacturer’s instructions about how to check for leaks in the hose line and cylinder.
This may seem a long list but most of these things are common sense.  One of the dangers is the use of flammable liquids to light a charcoal barbecue. JRFS have had a couple of occasions where people have poured petrol onto the charcoal in an effort to get it going and the reaction has, not surprisingly, been violent and highly dangerous.   Prepare well in advance and light the charcoal early. 
If you are using your gas BBQ for the first time in a while, or if you have just changed the cylinder it is important to check the system for gas leaks. One of the safest ways is something commonly called the "soapy water leak test".
The soapy water leak test allows you to search for tell-tale bubbles that are indicative of a gas leak. In this very simple test, you just coat all of the pipes, hoses, valves, etc. with soapy water and then pressurise the system. If you see bubbles, you know you have a leak! Please follow our step by step guide to the Soapy Water Leak Test:
  • Start by putting some soapy water in a spray bottle or a dish. 
  • Turn on the LPG gas cylinder without turning on the BBQ.  This pressurises the system. 
  • Next, spray the entire valve, regulator and hose assembly with the soapy water. 
  • Alternatively, you can apply the soapy water with a paint brush, basting brush or it can even be sponged on. 
  • Soap bubbles will form if there is a gas leak and you may also smell the gas.
  • You need to test the entire assembly from the gas bottle valve all the way to where the gas hose attaches to the BBQ. 
  • When done, rinse with clean water to remove the soap solution.
  • Remember to always soapy water leak test the lot every time you re-connect your gas bottle.
  • If you find a leak, turn off the gas bottle immediately! 
  • Do not turn back on or attempt to use the BBQ until the problem is rectified.
You can watch a short video on the ‘Soapy Water Test.’

After a long and wet winter this good weather is allowing islanders to finally get out into their gardens to carry out some much needed TLC. If you plan on having a bonfire, or any other type of controlled burn, which will be visible to passers-by, you can let Jersey Fire and Rescue Service Control Room know by calling the non-emergency number (01534) 444705.

The Control Room Officer will want to know the exact location of your fire, the times you are planning to burn, and a contact number for whoever will be responsible for the site. Sharing this information with us will avoid mobilising crews to you unnecessarily.
If you are intending to have a bonfire or any other type of controlled burn, please take the following steps:

  • Do not start a bonfire or controlled burn near buildings, outbuildings or vehicles.
  • Ensure the surrounding area is clear from debris, hedging, plants and long grass.
  • Take into account the weather conditions, primarily direction of wind.
  • Do not start the fire using accelerants
Stay safe this Easter. 

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