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Barbecue safety

Date: 18/07/2013
Source: Newsletter issued by the De Haan local authority (

As soon as summer arrives, we bring out the barbecue. It is great having a barbecue in the garden or outside your tent or caravan on a lovely day. But what starts out as a fun evening can end with serious burns through a moment’s inattention, carelessness or inexperience. Here are a few ground rules that should help avoid disaster striking:

- Always stand the barbecue on stable, level ground;
- Make sure there is not enough room for anyone to run round the barbecue;
- Shield the barbecue from wind and stand it well away from tablecloths, garden furniture etc. as sparks that land on inflammable material can start a fire;
- Only use proper fire-lighting products to light a barbecue – never petrol, paraffin or methylated spirits;
- Use bellows or a fan – never blow on the fire yourself;
- Keep a bucket of water nearby, or a fire blanket or fire extinguisher;
- Take great care if you are wearing inflammable clothing (nylon etc.) and always wear special barbecue gloves;
- Keep visitors and children away from the barbecue and don’t drink too much alcohol – it’s safer to stay sober;
- The extension cable on an electric barbecue should be fully paid out (slack);
- Use barbecue implements with wooden handles as metal handles get very hot and burn;
- Make sure that there are no alcoholic drinks near the barbecue as the heat can cause alcohol vapours to ignite;
- Do not move a hot barbecue;
- Once you finish cooking, douse the burning or smouldering coals with sand and stay around until the barbecue is quite cold.