Guide to safer barbecues

Discover essential barbecue safety tips to prevent fires, injuries, and property damage.

Why BBQ Safety Matters

Every year we respond to incidents where barbecues have gone out of control.

It's crucial to prioritise safety when doing barbecue to prevent fires, injuries, and damage to property. 

Here is what you can do to keep you safe.

Safety tips for a safer barbecue

Avoid Alcohol If You Are in Charge of the Barbecue

While it’s tempting to enjoy a drink while grilling, alcohol can impair your judgment and coordination. If you’re responsible for the barbecue, stay sober to ensure you can react quickly and safely to any potential hazards.

Keep Emergency Supplies Nearby

Always have a bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby when barbecuing. These items are essential for quickly extinguishing any accidental fires. Being prepared can prevent a small fire from becoming a larger, more dangerous situation.

Never Use a Portable Barbecue or Lit Charcoal Indoors

Using a portable barbecue or lit charcoal in an enclosed space like a tent or caravan is extremely dangerous. This can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal. Always use your barbecue in a well-ventilated, open area.

Never Leave a Barbecue Unattended

Fires can start and spread quickly, so never leave your barbecue unattended. If you need to step away, ask another responsible adult to watch the grill. Constant supervision ensures you can address any issues immediately.

Choose a Safe Barbecue Site

Make sure your barbecue site is flat and well away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs, or garden waste. A stable, clear area reduces the risk of tipping the barbecue over or catching nearby objects on fire.

Keep Children and Pets Away

Children and pets can be unpredictable and might accidentally knock over the barbecue or burn themselves. Establish a safe zone around the cooking area and make sure they stay away from the grill while it’s in use.

Use the Right Amount of Charcoal

Using the correct amount of charcoal is important for maintaining a controlled fire. Typically, you should use enough charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue, which is usually around 5 centimetres or 2 inches. Too much charcoal can lead to an uncontrollable fire.

Dispose of Ashes Properly

Never dispose of ashes from campfires or barbecues until they are cold to the touch. Hot ashes can reignite and cause fires if not handled properly. Also, avoid throwing hot ashes into a bin as they can melt plastic and start a fire.

Cool the Barbecue Before Moving

After cooking, make sure the barbecue is completely cool before attempting to move it. Moving a hot barbecue can be hazardous and might lead to burns or accidental fires.

Use Proper Lighting Methods

Never use petrol or paraffin to light your barbecue. These substances are highly flammable and can cause explosions or uncontrollable fires. Instead, use only recognised lighters on cold coals. This ensures a safe and controlled start to your barbecue.