You can’t beat the fun of a family BBQ in your garden on a sunny weekend. The smells, the tastes, the excitement – BBQs are one of the things that make UK summers so great!
There are, however, a unique set of safety risks associated with using a BBQ. Therefore, good common sense and preparation are essential before you get started.
To avoid the most common accidents and injuries, here are some safety tips to consider…
Basic BBQ safety
- Never use BBQs or charcoal grills indoors – this could cause Carbon Monoxide poisoning as well as the potential to cause a fire.
- Ensure that your BBQ is in good working order and that there is no damage to it. It’s worth investing in a high-quality BBQ that has good reviews and a long-term guarantee with the manufacturer.
- Your BBQ should be secured on a flat surface, so that there is no chance of it falling over or slipping.
- It should be placed well away from any decorations, sheds, trees or hanging plants that could set alight.
- Don’t overload your BBQ grill with too much food – especially meat. If too much fat drips on the flames at once, it could cause a large flare-up of flames that could spread to reach your face or arms.
- Use dedicated BBQ tools to put your food on and off the grill. These will have extra-long handles to avoid burns to your hands and fingers.
- Children and pets should be kept well away from the BBQ at all times to avoid burns.
- You should never leave the barbecue unattended at any point – even when you have finished cooking. Wait until it cools down completely before moving it or storing it away.
- Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby just in case of a fire starting or spreading.
Charcoal BBQ safety
- Use enough charcoal to cover the base of the BBQ to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches)
- Only use branded fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals – use the minimum amount necessary. NEVER use petrol to light your BBQ.
- Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin – they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.
Gas BBQ safety
- When changing gas cylinders, only do this outdoors and in a well-ventilated area.
- Ensure the tap is fully turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
- If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles. If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.
- NEVER turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you open it and light it, a fireball could explode in your face.
- After you have finished cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning it off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up completely.
Also, remember that if you have been drinking alcohol, your judgement could be impaired, and your reactions may be slower. Therefore, never attempt operate a BBQ if you have been drinking as you could be putting yourself and others in direct danger.
By following these guidelines, you should be able to enjoy a safe and enjoyable BBQ with your friends and family this summer!