A bit of sun is the only excuse us Brits need to get the barbecue out and with Pride events on the calender across the country, there’s even more of an excuse.
They might be great fun, but they can also become potentially dangerous when mixed with carelessness. Every year, the fire service warns that the combination of a party atmosphere, drink flowing freely, children dashing around and an open fire can quickly lead to tragic accidents.
It urges everyone to follow some simple precautions to reduce the risks of barbecue mishaps.
Pre-planning and care, especially when young children are in attendance, are paramount.
Some essential safety points are:-
1)Always site a barbecue on a firm, level base sheltered from gusts of wind and well away from anything flammable, such as garden sheds, garages, fences and shrubs.
2)Do not hold makeshift barbecues in woods or fields.
3)Have at least one bucket of water handy at all times, just in case.
4)Never use any flammable liquid, such as petrol, to start a barbecue. Only use recommended firelighters or fluids, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
5)Do not allow barbecues to burst into flames or burn fiercely.
6)Never wear loose, flowing clothes when tending a barbecue and tie long hair back.
7)Ensure that children are kept well away from barbecues – their fascination and curiosity can easily lead to a dreadful accident.
8)Consuming alcohol and cooking with a barbecue don’t mix. If you are the chef, take responsibility and avoid indulging in drinks until your cooking duties are completed.
9)After cooking, allow embers to cool completely before disposing of them. Pour water over them to be absolutely sure.
10)Liquid petroleum (LP) gas or propane, used in gas grills, is highly flammable and each year about 30 people are injured as a result of gas-grill fires and explosions. Many of these fires and explosions occur when people first use a grill that has been left idle for a period of time or just after refilling and reattaching the grill’s gas container. To reduce the risk of fire or explosion, you should routinely perform the following safety checks:
11)Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear the blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.
12)Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
13)Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
14)If you can’t move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
15)Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.
16)Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer’s instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don’t attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed.
17)Keep lit cigarettes, matches or open flames away from a leaking grill.
18)Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building.
19)Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that can catch fire.
20)Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repairer.
21)Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the grill.