We’ve put together this guide to explain why balcony fires can be dangerous and how to reduce the risk of a fire starting and spreading from your balcony.

Why balcony fires can be dangerous

If a fire breaks out on your balcony, it could spread much faster than a fire inside your home. This is because inside buildings there are walls and doors that can contain a fire and there’s a limited supply of oxygen to keep the fire burning.

Whereas outside, there’s an unlimited supply of oxygen and a fire can quickly be blown by the wind, spreading it upwards and outwards and putting balconies or flats above you at risk.

Fire hazards on balconies range from smoking and carelessly throwing away cigarettes, to using patio heaters, unsuitable electrical items, BBQs and storing items that can easily catch fire. All these create a higher risk of fire.

How to reduce the risk of a fire starting and spreading from your balcony:

  • never use a BBQ on your balcony. Falling embers from a BBQ can burn items on your balcony and start a fire
  • never use a patio (outdoor) heater (gas or electric), or a flame pit on your balcony
  • never store items that can easily catch fire, and never store furniture or items like old mattresses and cardboard recycling on your balcony
  • never store gas cylinders (or any item containing flammable liquid)
  • don’t install or fix additional timber or combustible screening or flooring to your balcony (this includes artificial grass or something similar)
  • never use your balcony to store or use fireworks of any kind
  • never store white/electrical goods, like fridges and tumble driers on your balcony. They aren’t suitable for outdoor use and could start a fire
  • never get rid of cigarettes by flicking them over the side of your balcony. It could cause a fire on balconies below you. If you smoke on your balcony, use an ashtray, and get rid of smoking materials as carefully as you would do indoors

More advice from the London Fire Brigade (LFB)

To find out more about keeping your home safe from potential balcony fires, please visit the LFB website.

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