£617m of fire damage caused by barbecuing drunkMany admit to being drunk in charge of a barbecue

26 May 2012

Barbecue | Barbecue safety | BBQ

1.5 million homes have been damaged by fire after barbecuing drunk

A quarter of people in charge of a barbecue have been drunk while doing so and a staggering 1.5 million homes have been damaged as a result, according new research.

A report compiled by More Than Home Insurance raises concerns over safety as the risk rises with a hot summer and long bank holiday weekends ahead, when families are likely to host barbecue parties, fuelled by alcohol.

To find a safe and reliable barbecue, plus expert advice on how to buy one, see our barbecue reviews section.

Safe barbecuing

Which? barbecue expert Jess O'Leary says: 'The promise of al fresco dining on summer evenings can make it tempting to start celebrating with your favourite tipple early-on in the day. It's easy to forget that barbecuing involves exposing yourself and others to hot coals, sizzling grills and open flames.

'Make sure your barbecue is sturdy to cook on and isn't likely to topple over if it's knocked or kicked. Always set it up on a level, hard surface - such as a patio - and make sure it's well-shielded from strong gusts of wind that could fan flames and spread ash. Take extra care if you're cooking on a table-top or portable grill, and make sure children and pets are supervised.'

BBQ risks and costs

An overwhelming 80% of drunk barbecuing incidences were caused by men, with the average cost of damage being £383. Although women are less likely to cause such problems, the cost of damage tends to be higher, at around £525.

With sheds, gazebos and trees acting as prime kindle, garden fires can easily get out of hand. But as well as damage to property, the possibility of personal injury to those in charge of a barbecue or guest are greatly increased when drunk.

Which? has analysed the whole UK home insurance market to find out which are the best brands to consider when looking to buy home cover. Our home insurance recommended providers page reveals our top recommendations.

Which? BBQ safety testing

Which? experts consider the safety of a barbecue paramount when testing barbecues to find Best Buy models. 

Scrutinising at the sturdiness of each barbecue including its weight and ease of handling, our experts assess the likelihood of someone being able to knock it over, and check whether the design of the legs, feet and shelves of each could be potential tripping hazards.  

More on this...

  • Discover how to buy the best barbecue
  • See our top five tips on what to look for in a barbecue
  • Protect yourself from the cost of property damage with our guide to home insurance