The barbecue is probably one of the most underestimated dangers around your home. With a few simple tips, though, you can be safe while you're grilling outside.
Where should your barbecue be?
- Find a piece of level ground that is non-flammable. Wooden decks could catch fire. Opt for a piece of empty cement instead.
- Keep your barbecue away from buildings, trees, and shrubs.
- Choose a sheltered area out of the wind and rain.
- Don't use your barbecue inside a house, tent, gazebo, or other enclosed area.
- Check to see if there are laws in your area about where you can and can't have a barbecue.
Lighting your barbecue
- Follow the instructions for your particular barbecue. Keep the instruction booklet with your barbecue tools for easy reference.
- Check the joints for leaks on gas barbecues before you turn anything on, especially after storing it for winter. Dab soapy water along the hose. If you see bubbles, you have a gas leak. Some leaks can be fixed by tightening connections. If your hose is still bubbling after you've tightened your connections, take your barbecue to a professional.
- Never use petrol, paraffin, or other flammable liquids to light or revive your barbecue.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher, bucket of water, or garden hose ready nearby when you are cooking in case of an accident.
Once your flame is going...
- Never leave your barbecue unattended.
- Never move a lit barbecue—you risk it tipping over and causing a fire and severe burns to hands and feet.
- Keep children and pets well away from the barbecue while you're using it and for several hours after. The barbecue stays hot even after you've stopped grilling.
- Keep your house doors and windows closed to prevent smoke and burning ashes from blowing inside.
- Lighter fluid is only for lighting—don't put more on after you have a flame.
- Use long-handled, flame-resistant utensils.
- Don't drink alcohol around your barbecue. Alcohol is flammable, and you need all your senses about you at all times.
- Use clean plates and utensils for cooked meats. Don't use the same ones that touched raw meat (can you say "food poisoning"?).
- Try to get as much of the greasy build-up off your barbecue as you can when you've finished using it. Grease can catch flame when you're grilling, causing uneven heat in your barbecue and a fire hazard.
Remember to turn off burners, shut off propane tanks, and wait for your barbecue to cool down when you are finished. If you use coals, wait until all the ashes have cooled before cleaning them out.