BBQ safety is often overlooked. Each year many people injure themselves whilst using or being close to BBQs. The injuries can be relatively minor, for example small burns, or be serious resulting from flash fires or major contact with hot briquettes. Following the simple steps below for BBQ safety will make your day not only enjoyable but safe. Clearly, be extra careful with children and animals.
- Read and follow the BBQ manufacturer’s instructions.
- Position the BBQ in an open area outside at least three meters from a building and away from pedestrian traffic and dry vegetation.
- Always cook in the open air, ie not in the garage or a tent, due to the risk of sparks with traditional BBQs and carbon monoxide build up with gas BBQs.
- Do not use the BBQ under or over any surface that is likely to burn, such on decking or under a porch.
- Wear a heavy apron, long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt and an oven glove whilst using the BBQ to help prevent burns.
- Use long handled utensils to keep your hands and clothing away from the heat and flames.
- Keep children and pets away from the heat and never leave the BBQ unattended.
- Reduce grease flare-ups by trimming excess fat and keep a spray bottle of water handy.
- As soon as possible, clear away all your cooking equipment to prevent kids touching it.
Using Gas BBQs:
- Always store the gas cylinder upright and outside in a cool area and turn the gas off at the tank to prevent unintentional ignitions.
- Never use a gas cylinder if it shows any sign of damage.
- Never adjust the cylinder hosing or fittings when the BBQ is in operation or hot.
- If the burner doesn’t ignite within a few seconds, turn off the gas and wait five minutes before trying to light again.
- Regularly check the hose and connections for leaks. Use a soap-and-water mix as escaping gas will appear as bubbles. If a leak is detected, tighten the connections, or call a professional to repair the BBQ.
- Clean the BBQ grill (with a wire brush and cloth) and hoses (with a bottle cleaner) regularly.
- Never attempt to repair the gas container valve or fittings yourself. Make sure any repairs are carried out by a qualified repair person.
Using Charcoal BBQs:
- Use the starter fluids designated for your BBQ.
- If the coals are slow to catch, fan them or use dry kindling and rolled-up newspaper to give a boost. Adding liquid fuel could result in a flash fire.
- If you use instant light briquettes, do not use lighter fluids as well.
- Once the BBQ is lit, never touch the charcoals as seemingly cold briquettes can be extremely hot.
- Close nearby windows and doors when cooking.
- When finished, close the vents and allow the ashes to cool for 48 hours before disposing of them and then put them in a metal container that doesn’t contain other combustible materials.
- Be careful. Seemingly “dead” charcoal can re-ignite hours later. For complete BBQ safety soak with water.