Essential summer barbecue fire safety tips

It’s official, summertime is here and what better way to celebrate than ducking out between rain showers to light the barbecue! Just the thought of the chargrilled meat and veg aroma drifting through the air is enough to make you hungry. Not only do they provide delicious food but barbecues are great for getting your friends and family in the garden to spend sun-filled days together.

But if they aren’t handled properly, barbecues can pose serious dangers to the people who light them, those who are nearby and even properties. That’s why we have created our essential summer barbecue tips to keep you and your family safe.

Only use your barbecue outside

This might seem obvious but because barbecue fires can start quickly and easily it’s important to ensure you set up outdoors. You may be tempted to start cooking under the cover of an open garage or perhaps a covered balcony or canopy but this comes with dangers.

The mixture of fire, charcoal and gas is a combustible one and anything hanging over the barbecue is at risk of catching fire. Ensuring your barbecuing area is clear and free from anything hanging down or covering is essential for fire safety.

Ventilation is essential

There is also the issue of ventilation – you may find yourself getting smoked out if there isn’t enough air circulating where your barbecue has been lit. Barbecues give off fumes for hours after they have been used, including the poisonous carbon monoxide, which is odourless.

This means you wouldn’t know if you were breathing it in, which can cause feelings of dizziness, difficulty breathing and headaches. Without the proper ventilation when barbecuing outdoors, the risks of inhaling this dangerous gas are heightened.

Grill from a distance

Keeping a fair distance away from your home or any flammable boundary perimeters, like wooden fences, will ensure that if your barbecue does go up in flames they are less likely to spread. That also goes for the smoke that is practically guaranteed with a barbecue.

Maybe you are having an office barbecue for your summer party? Making sure that you keep a safe distance from the building will ensure that your fire sprinkler system doesn’t get too hot and accidentally go off. We suggest that your barbecue is placed at least three metres away from your home or any permanent or flammable structures.

General barbecue safety tips

There are plenty of precautions you can take when setting up and putting your barbecue out but there are also important considerations to make while cooking. Perhaps the most important safety tip for a barbecue is to never leave it unattended once it has been lit.

A responsible adult should supervise the barbecue at all times, ensuring that children and pets are kept away from the searing heat. Games and activities must be kept away from the flames and heat of the grill too, as one slip or accident could result in a burn.

You may wish to keep a spray bottle of water nearby to deal with any flare-ups as they happen. A fire extinguisher within a couple of steps as a failsafe is also highly advisable.

Some basic maintenance is also essential to minimise the risk of a dangerous fire breaking out while barbecuing. For example, cleaning the grill regularly prevents a build-up of grease and fat which can be a major accelerant of the fire beneath. This advice also is important while cooking. Try to avoid overloading your grill with fatty meats as it may drip so much that a large flare-up could occur.

Putting your fire out

Although you may no longer have a use for the barbecue once your food has been served, it’s important to consider that its embers will continue to burn. Typically, the coals should only remain hot for around 30 minutes once the fire has gone out but it can take a couple of days for the charcoal to cool down completely.

Once the fire has burned out, let the hot coals rest for a while before suffocating them for up to two days by closing the lid and vents on your barbecue. After that time, cover the coals with water by slowly pouring it on as doing it quickly risks reigniting the flame. With your coals and ashes now covered in water, you can safely drain the water and throw them away as they will be cooled.

Fire safety at Applications Engineering

Here at Applications Engineering, we understand the importance of good fire safety. That is why we design high-quality fire sprinkler system products, covering a range of fire sprinkler valve sets, pump checks and pressure switches. Contact us today for more information about our fire safety equipment and pressure switches.

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