It's barbecue season! We've compiled a list of our top barbecue safety tips, to help you have many more enjoyable and accident free barbecues.
- Always read the manual! Having a properly assembled barbecue and using it correctly is the first step to barbecue safety.
- Use the correct fuel. Don't burn logs or coal on a barbecue designed only for charcoal. You should also never use wood, charcoal or gasoline with a gas barbecue. You could damage your barbecue, cause a fire, or make it too hot, creating a burn hazard.
- Stay away from smoke. Position your barbecue in a well ventilated area, where the smoke won't cause a problem. Keep well away from doors and windows to prevent smoke filling the house, and risking carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure no one is sitting or standing directly in the smoke.
- Location, location, location! Make sure there is nothing nearby that you could potentially damage or set on fire. If your barbecue is on a patio, a chalk drawn safety zone could help keep children back. You should place the barbecue on flat ground, away from plants, trees, sheds, children, garden games and pets. Be aware of any trailing plants or overhanging branches that could dip in to the barbecue, steal a sausage and then set the fence on fire.
- Protect yourself. Always wear an apron, the heavier the better, and don't forget your oven mitts! Long handled tongs are ideal for removing cooked food, creating some extra distance between you and the fire. Don't wear loose clothes near the barbecue. A long sleeve or a floaty skirt blowing in the wind are all just extra fuel to a barbecue.
- When you're done... Let the coals, wood or ashes cool completely before you clean the barbecue. If you're throwing ashes into the dustbin, they should always be cooled first to prevent a fire. Hot coals can be doused with water. Don't try to move the barbecue straight away either - there's a good chance you'll get burned.
- Clean it! Keep your barbecue free of grease and fat. A clean barbecue is imperative to the safety of your food, but it can also help prevent flare ups and dangerous, spitting fat.
- Just in case. Keep a bucket of water and a bucket of sand nearby. Remember to use sand only on an out of control barbecue, and water if you set your furniture on fire. Adding water to hot fat will cause a huge flare up which could cover anything or anyone nearby. If your clothes catch fire, always stop, drop and roll immediately. If you burn yourself, run the area under cold water for five minutes, and if it's serious, get medical attention right away.
Visit the Fire Service website for a comprehensive guide to the safety of all the different types of barbecue.
Visit the Gas Safety Register for more information on how to prevent and spot carbon monoxide poisoning.