With summer just a couple of months away from folks in the UK, many of us are already dusting down our barbecues and drooling at the thought of some luscious food for a bbq. The only problem is, sometimes a bit of English sunshine and barbecued food can go to our heads and make us lose any traces of common sense. When you’re operating something as dangerous as a BBQ it will certainly pay off to use it safely, and that’s why we’ve got a whole bunch of tips for you!
The majority of people will love a good barbecue, and rightly so. But this enjoyable outdoor pastime can quickly become sour if things aren’t kept under control – one small mistake and things can go from good, to bad, to worse in just seconds.
Between 2000 and 2002 (the only data we could obtain, thanks to the HASS / LASS), there were on average 1500 reported accidents each year as a result of barbecuing and probably thousands more that were unreported.
Since we don’t want you turning into a statistic by burning yourself, your friends, your family or your property, we’ve compiled a nice list of safety tips for you to read below. Make sure you read ALL of them to ensure your barbecuing adventures go perfectly (aside from a couple of burnt sausages).
General Safety Tips:
1) Ensure your BBQ / griller is in good condition and suitable to be used. Far too often do people dust off a barbecue which hasn’t been used for several years and expect it to be in perfect working order. If for some reason you’re unsure, ask someone who’s a bit more experienced and hands on than you to check or drop it into the place you purchased it from and get a second opinion.
2) Position the barbecue in a safe place. Avoid barbecuing under low hanging trees, near bushes or anything else that is flammable such as sheds, arches or benches. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of the flames spreading if something does go wrong as the BBQ site will be isolated. Also, when setting up the barbecue, try and do it on the flattest piece of land possible – avoid slopes and gradients. If your barbecue has wheels, lock them or put a brick either side to stop it from moving.
3) Separate the barbecue from other activities. As mentioned above, ideally you want the barbecue to be in an isolated part of the garden where your family, friends or guests aren’t constantly walking past. You don’t want it to be in an area that is being used for a football kick-around or any other type of garden activities. It is also worth bearing in mind if you have children or pets present, to make the barbecue as hard to reach as possible. This will prevent dogs from accidentally knocking it over and more importantly, it will stop kids from messing around with it and potentially ending up with serious burns. It’s also advisable to give a warning at the start of the barbecue to the children to let them know the ‘barbecuing area’ is strictly off limits – threaten them with no grilled food or something, that should do the trick.
4) Make sure the BBQ is manned at all times. Obviously this doesn’t apply to smokers (nobody expects you to stand over it whilst your food is smoked for hours upon hours), but for the regular charcoal or gas grill, there should be someone overseeing it at all times. If you have to take a toilet break, ask someone to keep an eye on things whilst you’re gone for a few minutes, nobody will object. Don’t be fooled into thinking nothing bad can happen if you leave it alone for a while – a few minutes is all it takes for things to turn ugly.
Right, that’s part 1, stay tuned for some more barbecue tips and safety advice. While you wait for part 2 why not check out this handy video on how to barbecue safely