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27 Sep, 2019 16:50

Party’s over! New fire safety rules ban Russians from smoking & barbecuing… on their balconies

Party’s over! New fire safety rules ban Russians from smoking & barbecuing… on their balconies

Russia has tightened up its fire safety rules, banning people from barbecuing on their balconies. Smokers will also be affected.

The government has answered a plea by the Emergencies Ministry and amended the fire prevention regulations, making the use of an open fire on the balconies of apartments, dormitories, and hotels rooms illegal. The new rules will go into force within the next ten days.

The move means that cooking shashlik (a version of shish kebab popular in Russia and former Soviet republics) without having to go outside or having a bonfire will no longer be permitted. And it was actually a thing in the country. Numerous tutorials on how to make the best barbecue at your balcony can still be found on online.

The Emergencies Ministry clarified that smoking also falls under the category of “open fire,” meaning no more puffing on the balcony.

Those who violate the new rules may face a fine of up to 5,000 rubles (around $77) or criminal persecution if their actions result in a fire and damage to property. 

The initiative received the full backing of the Kremlin, with presidential press-secretary, Dmitry Peskov, saying that the administration welcomes all measures aimed at keeping the public safe.

“Vladimir Putin was always critical towards smoking and promoted a healthy lifestyle,” Peskov added.

There are currently fewer smokers than fingers on one hand among staff working with the president, he said, adding that the habit has become “unpopular” in the administration.

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More than 2,000 fires started on balconies in Russia last year, almost twice as many as in 2016, according to the Emergencies Ministry’s data. In 60% of those cases, negligent smokers were to blame. However, there are no statistics available to show how many fires were caused by BBQs. 

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