Fire Hazards of Disposable Barbecues

The Hidden Fire Hazards of Disposable Barbecues

As the sun shines and the days grow warmer, many of us are eager to head outdoors and enjoy a good barbecue. With their convenience and portability, disposable barbecues have become a popular choice for picnics, beach outings, and camping trips. However, these seemingly innocuous devices carry significant fire risks that often go overlooked. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fire dangers associated with disposable barbecues and provide tips on how to enjoy your outdoor cooking safely.

The Appeal of Disposable Barbecues

Disposable barbecues are attractive because they are:

– Convenient: Pre-packed with charcoal, they are easy to use and require minimal setup.

– Portable: Lightweight and compact, they are ideal for spontaneous outings.

– Inexpensive: Generally cheaper than traditional barbecues, making them accessible to many.

However, these benefits come with serious fire risks that must be understood and mitigated.

The Fire Dangers

1. High Heat and Inadequate Containment:

Disposable barbecues generate high temperatures but lack the robust containment systems of traditional grills. This makes them prone to tipping over or having hot coals escape, which can ignite nearby flammable materials.

2. Prolonged Cooling Time:

After use, disposable barbecues remain hot for several hours. Many people mistakenly believe they can be disposed of immediately after cooking, leading to incidents where hot coals ignite trash bins or dry grass.

3. Lack of Stability:

Disposable barbecues are often placed on uneven or unstable surfaces. A slight bump or gust of wind can cause them to topple, scattering hot coals and starting fires.

4. Improper Disposal:

Even when cooled, the remnants of a disposable barbecue can cause fires if not disposed of correctly. Placing them in plastic bins or leaving them in areas with dry vegetation can lead to unintentional fires.

5. Environmental Factors:

Dry and windy conditions significantly increase the risk of fires. Sparks or embers from a disposable barbecue can easily be carried to nearby vegetation, igniting a blaze.

Real-World Examples

Unfortunately, the dangers of disposable barbecues are not just theoretical. There have been numerous incidents where improper use or disposal of these barbecues has led to significant fires:

– Forest Fires: There have been instances where disposable barbecues have caused large forest fires, leading to extensive environmental damage and costly firefighting efforts.

– Property Damage: Campgrounds and public parks have suffered property damage due to fires started by disposable barbecues.

– Personal Injury: Individuals have sustained burns and other injuries from mishandling these devices or from fires that they started.

Safety Tips for Using Disposable Barbecues

To enjoy the convenience of disposable barbecues without compromising safety, follow these guidelines:

1. Choose Your Location Wisely:

Use disposable barbecues on stable, non-flammable surfaces such as concrete or metal grills provided in parks. Avoid using them on dry grass, wooden tables, or any area where embers could catch fire.

2. Monitor Constantly:

Never leave a lit barbecue unattended. Keep an eye on children and pets to prevent accidental knocks or spills.

3. Have a Fire Extinguisher or Water Source Ready:

Always have a bucket of water, sand, or a fire extinguisher nearby to douse any unintended flames quickly.

4. Allow Proper Cooling Time:

Let the barbecue cool completely before attempting to dispose of it. This can take several hours. Check the temperature of the coals before handling.

5. Dispose of Responsibly:

Once cool, wrap the barbecue securely in aluminium foil to contain any remaining embers, and dispose of it in a designated metal trash bin.

6. Be Mindful of Environmental Conditions:

Avoid using disposable barbecues on windy days or during dry spells when the risk of wildfires is heightened.


While disposable barbecues offer convenience and the joy of outdoor cooking, it’s crucial to be aware of and mitigate the fire risks they pose. By following safety guidelines and exercising caution, you can enjoy your barbecue while protecting yourself, others, and the environment from the dangers of fire. Remember, a little awareness and preparation can go a long way in ensuring that your outdoor adventures are both fun and safe.

Fire Fighting at the Olympic Games

Firefighting at the Olympic Games

Firefighting was an event featured at the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris as an unofficial sport. Competitions were held for both professional and volunteer firefighters. While the firefighting event is not considered by the International Olympic Committee as an Olympic event, the report of the 1900 Games, prepared by A. G. Spalding, devotes multiple pages to the competition.

The international competition (which France chose not to compete) included teams of both professional and volunteer firefighters. The teams were required to extinguish a fire and perform a rescue.

The instructions were (in French) “Le feu s’est déclaré au 3e étage d’une maison d’habitation à six étages; le 4e étage et les escaliers des parties hautes sont impraticables. Des personnes sont à sauver aux 5e et 6e étages Opérer les sauvetages et l’extinction”, which roughly translated is “The fire started on the 3rd floor of a house six floors; 4th floors and stairs the upper parts are impassable. People are saving the 5th and 6th floors. Operate rescue and extinction.”


There were three teams made up of volunteers – England (Lyton), Hungary (Buda-Pesth) and Portugal (Oporto). The winning team was Oporto from Portugal, followed by Lyton and then Buda-Pesth.

There were just two professional teams – Italy (Milan) and the United States (Kansas City) – won by Kansas City of the USA and “its famous engine and hook and ladder company No.1.”

Image Sources – Firefighting at the Olympics

Fire Fighting at the 1900 – Image 1 – link

Weird Olympic Sports – Image 2 – link

how many seconds

How many seconds?

In the blink of an eye, disaster can strike, especially when it comes to house fires. Understanding the speed at which fires can spread is crucial for taking preventative measures and ensuring the safety of your loved ones. We’ll delve into the alarming pace at which a fire can escalate within different parts of a house and explore the crucial question of how many seconds it takes to extinguish a small fire with the right tools.

This displays the typical timeline of a 2 story house being engulfed in flames:

30 Seconds

After only 30 seconds, the fire starts and rapidly grows.

1 Minute

After 1 minute, the fire spreads from the initial flame, and the room begins to fill with smoke.

1 Minute 35 Seconds

At 1 minute 35 seconds, the temperature of the house goes higher than 88°C while the smoke layer rapidly descends.

1 Minute 50 Seconds

At 1 minute and 50 seconds, the smoke detector goes off. At this point, there is still time remaining to get out of the house.

2 Minutes 30 Seconds

At 2 minutes and 30 seconds, the temperature in the source room climbs above 204°C.

2 Minutes 48 Seconds

After 2 minutes and 48 seconds, the smoke will start pouring into the other rooms of the house.

3 Minutes

At 3 minutes, the temperature in the room where the fire began will reach over 260°C. No human can survive that kind of heat.

3 Minutes 20 Seconds

At 3 minutes and 20 seconds, escaping will be very challenging, with the upstairs halls filled with smoke.  

3 Minutes 41 Seconds

At 3 minutes and 41 seconds, a “flashover” occurs. Everything in the room where the fire originated will ignite, with the temperature exceeding 760°C.

4 Minutes 33 Seconds

At 4 minutes and 33 seconds, flames will have engulfed the home’s exterior. Rescue is no longer possible.

Less than 1 Minute

It takes less than a minute to extinguish a fire using the correct fire extinguisher when the fire is detected in the first 1 minute and 30 seconds of the fire initially starting. When a fire is detected and is still small enough to fight, this time is crucial. Fast and proper action is essential for the safety of yourself, your property and your loved ones. If the fire is too large, escape and you and your loved ones’ safety is key.


Every second counts when it comes to house fires. Understanding how many seconds it can take a fire to spread empowers homeowners to take proactive measures to prevent it. Equally important is knowing how to respond swiftly with the right tools, such as a fire extinguisher, to nip potential disasters in the bud. Being a few seconds faster in the battle against house fires can make all the difference between a close call and a devastating tragedy.