Barbecues are extremely popular, particularly during the warmer months, but they can also become potentially dangerous when mixed with carelessness or excessive alcohol. The combination of a party atmosphere, drinks flowing freely, children playing and an open fire can quickly cause a tragic accident. Simple precautions, responsible behaviour, common sense and cleanliness are essential when using barbecues, whether they are in a backyard or on a balcony.
Tips for having a safe barbecue
Always place a barbecue on a firm, level base sheltered from wind gusts and well away from anything flammable like garden sheds, vegetation, fences etc.
If unable to light, shut down and allow excess gas to clear before trying to light the barbecue again.
If a gas leak does occur shut off the cylinder immediately and allow any gas to dissipate.
Have a garden hose or similar continuous supply of water available at all times.
Ensure that the lit barbecue is in the care of a responsible adult at all times.
Never put any flammable liquid (e.g. petrol or kerosene) on or near a barbecue.
As well as being extremely dangerous, children may be encouraged to copy your actions.
Remember, it is the fumes from the liquid that catch fire rather than the liquid itself.
Clean the barbecue and grease tray of grease before lighting and after use to prevent flare ups and fat fires.
Be aware that after use barbecues are still hot – charcoal especially up to 48 hours to cool.
Turn off at cylinder valve after use.
Store cylinders outside.
Tips for barbecuing on the balcony
In addition to the points above, the following factors also need to be considered.
Use in an open and well ventilated – not inside or within an enclosed area. Some units have dedicated areas on the balcony for barbecues with a fitting for a gas supply.
Clear the area of items stored near the barbecue.
Consider having a fire extinguisher available.