Balcony safety

Balconies are incredibly popular with residents and families for providing a bit of extra outdoor space – but there are rules you need to follow to stay safe and reduce the risk of fire.

If you have a balcony, please follow our advice to minimise the risks to you, your family and your home.

• NEVER use any type of barbecue, including disposable ones, either indoors or on your balcony.

There are now “balcony BBQs” on sale, but the London Fire Brigade (LFB) strongly advises against using them while our tenancy and leasehold agreements also say they cannot be used on balconies.

Mark Hazelton, community safety group manager for LFB, says: “We urge people not to light barbecues on their balconies. Balconies are often enclosed and it’s easy for barbecues to get out of control and cause a fire which can then spread to other properties.

“It’s important to place any barbecue on level ground well away from anything that could catch fire, such as fences, overhanging trees, sheds or, in these cases, other people’s balconies.”

• If you smoke outdoors on your balcony, always ensure that cigarettes are fully extinguished and disposed of properly.

• Naked flames aren’t the only risk when it comes to balconies. If you live in a block of flats, please don’t use your balcony as extra storage space. While it can be handy, balconies packed with flammable items can cause a fire to spread much more quickly.

• Keep an eye on what is around your balcony doors, as direct sunlight coming through the glass can spark a fire.

Charlie Pugsley, head of LFB’s fire investigation team, said: “This sort of incident isn’t as rare as you would think. I’ve seen everything from sparkly doorknobs and crystal balls to glass fish bowls and Nutella jars containing crystals all start fires.

“Crystal and glass ornaments, as well as items such as shaving mirrors, should be kept out of direct sunlight.”

• Do not block or cover over smoke detectors.

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