Summer Barbecue Safety Advice

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Summer is the time we see an increase in outdoor activities such as barbecues, whether that be at large organised events or with family and friends in the back garden. Barbecues have some fire risks that you should never underestimate, so great care should be taken, especially where children and pets are concerned.


It is far too easy to become distracted while cooking on a barbecue. There will be risks of injuries to yourself or others present as well as potential damage to your property unless you follow some basic precautions.


General safety rules


·         Ensure the barbecue is completely cooled down before attempting to move it

·         Ensure the barbecue is placed on a flat site during use, well away from a shed, wooden fences, trees or shrubs in your garden

·         Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies

·         Keep children and pets well away from the barbecue, as well as ball games where the barbecue could be knocked over

·         Make sure your barbecue is in good working order

·         Never leave the barbecue unattended while still hot


Charcoal Barbecues


The most popular choice for families, charcoal barbecues need only enough charcoal to give about 2 inches of depth. There is no extra benefit to be had by overloading the base with coals. Supermarkets and camping shops stock recognised fire lighters and barbecue fuel quite cheaply. These are for use on cold coals to get the fire started and are not for use on hot barbecues. You should never use petrol to start your barbecue.


Allow the barbecue to completely cool down, preferably overnight before sweeping the ashes into the bin. Never put hot ashes directly into a bin. It could cause a fire.


Gas Barbecues


Gas barbecues pose a fire risk from the cooking gasses being used, but also from the pressurised gas cylinders used. You should always check that the tap is securely turned off before changing a gas cylinder, and make sure you change the cylinder outdoors whenever possible.


Should you suspect a leak in the cylinder or the gas pipe supplying the barbecue, rub some soapy water over the pipes and around joints to see if any bubbles are created. Replace any split or damaged pipes and equipment.


Once you have finished cooking, turn off the gas at the cylinder before switching off the controls on the barbecue. This will allow any trapped gas in the pipework to be used up.


Camping and Caravanning


Bottled gas is commonly used in mobile caravans for cooking, as are camping stoves for campers. Smoke alarms are essential for caravans to help reduce fire risks and you should never remove the batteries for use elsewhere. A water or dry powder fire extinguisher should be installed near the doorway of the caravan.


Camping stoves need to be used outside in well ventilated conditions away from your tent or any flammables such as blankets and clothes that may catch alight should the stove be knocked over. Keep gas cylinders outside your tent. Make sure your charcoal barbecue is completely cold before safely disposing of the ashes. Carry a fire blanket with your camping equipment for extra fire safety. For more details visit our website.


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