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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. 


  • Be aware of, and ensure that you comply with, any fire restrictions that may be in place:

    • Total fire bans 

    • National park restrictions

    • Local council by-laws

    • Body corporate by-laws or lease restrictions

Tips for having a safe barbecue


  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the correct start up and shut down procedures.

  • Ensure that your barbecue is serviced and maintained correctly including:

    • scheduled pressure testing of any gas cylinders; and

    • checking the condition of all hoses and connections (e.g. no rust or damage and connections are tightened on gas barbecues).

  • 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.

    • Only use a barbecue in a well ventilated area as fumes and gases emitted may be harmful.


  • 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.

  • Keep children away from any lit barbecue and remember to remove and secure any lighters and matches.


  • 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. 

  • If the flames become uncontrolled:

    • If safe to do so, flip the lid down

    • Turn of the cylinder valve.

  • Be aware of the conditions on the balcony

    • Is it too windy to light?

    • Will this be a danger to yourself or your neighbours?

  • Be aware that smoke from barbecues can trigger smoke alarms.