Outdoor Cooking Safety
Outdoor activities are often a great way to spend your leisure time but they have their own set of unique fire risks that should not be underestimated. However, some common-sense 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 have friends and family around you whilst cooking. To avoid injuries or damage to property, follow these simple precautions:
* Make sure your barbecue is in good working order.
* Ensure the barbecue is on a flat site, well away from a shed, 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.
* Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of about 50mm (2 inches).
* Only use recognised fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals - use the minimum necessary and never use petrol.
* Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin - they could melt the plastic and cause a fire.
* 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 do not overtighten.
* After cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before turning off at the controls to ensure any residual gas in the pipe work is used up.
Building an open fire
* Never build a fire where the soil is of peat.
* Build it well away from any tents - especially in windy weather (at least 10 metres).
* Clear the area of grass, leaves and brush away to form a circle of earth around the fire.
* A fire stack should be made so that it will collapse inwards when burning.
* Do not leave the fire unattended and watch for flying embers or sparks.
* Make sure you extinguish the fire before going to bed or when you leave.