There is no doubt that as a nation we enjoy outdoor activities, whenever possible. However, due to the nature of the type of equipment that we utilise to cook outdoors, there are potential risks in terms of fire, which need to be considered. By taking careful consideration and ensuring relevant preparation, the risks can be minimised to ensure an enjoyable occasion for all.
The humble barbecue is the most common piece of equipment utilised for cooking outdoors, and under normal circumstances is certainly safe. However by virtue of the usual distractions that occur during a family barbecue, which can create a number of problems, there is the potential to cause injury and damage. By following a few commonsense tips, a safe cooking environment can be assured.
- Ensure that the BBQ is fit for purpose.
- Always make sure that the BBQ is on a flat level surface and that it is nowhere near any outbuildings or plants and trees.
- The area in which the cooking is taking place should be kept clear at all times. Do not allow children or pets near the area.
- Always stay with the BBQ.
- In case of emergency, a bucket of sand or water should be kept close by.
- Prior to moving the BBQ make sure it has cooled down sufficiently.
* Utilise only 50mm depth of charcoal, which is enough to cover the entire bottom of the barbecue.
* In terms of lighting the BBQ, do not use any other form of flammable liquid or material apart from fire lighters or fuel, which is specifically for BBQ's and also use the bare minimum, whilst ensuring they are only placed on coals that are cold.
* When the barbecue is finished, wait for the coals to turn completely cold, before placing the contents into the bin. Hot ashes have the potential to cause problems such as starting a fire.
* If the gas cylinder is depleted and needs changing, always ensure that the gas tap is in the off position before uncoupling the cylinder.
* Ideally when changing gas cylinders, do it outside to ensure appropriate ventilation. If inside, open windows and doors for extra ventilation.
* 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.