Published 21 July 2023

Voluntary guidelines for retailers launched to help reduce disposable barbecue wildfire risk

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The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have launched voluntary guidelines for retailers on the sale of disposable barbecues (DBBQs). The guidelines provide retailers with principles to support wildfire risk reduction at both a local and national level.

The guidelines support responsible retailing and outline the steps that retailers can take to work with Local Authorities and fire and rescue services to proactively help reduce wildfires. At times of high wildfire risk this can mean withdrawing these products from sale.

Retailers are encouraged to ensure they provide consumers with advice on how to safely use, extinguish and dispose these products.

The guidelines follow three key principles:

  • Retailers will respond to reasonable, evidence based Local Authority requests to remove DBBQs from sale. Retailers will have systems in place to notify stores within their network to remove disposable DBBQs from sale.
  • Retailers will remove disposable BBQs from sale once an extreme heat event has been declared as imminent. Retailers should also monitor the Fire Severity Index and decide whether a local or national ban is necessary.
  • Retailers will advise their customers on the safe and responsible use of DBBQs. This could include on-pack use and disposal information, or educational information on the shelf edge, digital platforms and/or print media.

Adrian Simpson, Product Safety Policy Adviser at the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Disposable barbecues provide a great way for people to enjoy the summer outdoors. However, it is extremely important that users realise that these must be used responsibly. They must only be used in safe areas, they must never be left unattended, the safety instructions must be followed, a bucket of water or sand must be available nearby for emergency use, and the BBQ must be completely cool before disposal.”

Paul Hedley, Wildfire Lead at the National Fire Chiefs Council, said:

“These guidelines are a good start for mitigating wildfire risk caused by disposable barbecues. Retailers can take an active role in supporting community safety by responding to Local Authority requests to remove DBBQs from sale and respond proactively to imminent extreme heat. “Additionally, members of the public should make note of local guidelines, only using disposable BBQs in appropriate areas and making sure that they dispose of them safely. We’d always advise taking a picnic and under no circumstances using disposable BBQs in the countryside at times of high wildfire risk.”

Safety Advice for Consumers

  • It’s safest to take a picnic
  • Don’t have barbecues in the countryside unless it is in a designated area
  • Ensure you extinguish DBBQs fully after use

NFCC Resources here