Cardinal Rules of Grilling Safely

Summer is all about warm weather and beaches, but it’s also a time to think about fire safety for your home and business. Fire prevention is a priority and seeing to fire and safety risks is a must because they might arise, especially when grilling.

Outdoor activities are usually a fantastic way to spend your leisure time with family and friends, but they come with their own set of unique fire risks that shouldn’t be underestimated. However, some common-sense and preparation can ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

A barbecue should be a safe and enjoyable experience but it’s all too easy to be distracted when you’re in the company of loved ones whilst cooking. To avoid injuries or damage to property, our fire and safety experts have suggested simple steps for prevention and fundamental precautions:

General Safety

  • Check that your barbecue is in good working order
  • Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from trees or shrubs
  • Keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area
  • Never leave the barbecue unattended
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
  • Ensure the barbecue is cool before attempting to move it.
  • Keep a fire blanket close by.

Charcoal Barbecues

  • Only use enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches)
  • Only use standard fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals
  • Never use petrol and never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin, because they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.

Gas Barbecues

  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder
  • Change cylinders outdoors if possible or in a well-ventilated area
  • If you suspect a leak to the cylinder or pipe work, brush soapy water around the joints and watch for bubbles – tighten to fix but don’t over-tighten
  • After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before switching off the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up.

Grilling is one of the biggest summer fire risks, but good practice dictates to maintain a “safe zone” of at least three feet around grills when they’re being used. Be sure to clean your barbecue thoroughly, removing all grease build-up, because this will help prevent grease fires, and always keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, never do your grilling indoors, because grills can emit Carbon Monoxide, an odourless and colourless gas that can quickly injure or kill you.

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