As Kiwis we love our BBQs in summer, but we do need to use a bit of common sense to avoid accidental damage – especially since plants and foliage can be tinder-dry during our hot summer months. We’ve put together a few tips so you can enjoy this BBQ season.
Location, location, location
When using your BBQ, keep it away from buildings, hedges, or anything that’s potentially flammable should the wind pick up. Place your BBQ on a flat, stable surface and refer to the manufacturer’s specifications relating to minimum clearances away from combustible fuels.
Never leave your barbeque unattended when you’re cooking
You’ll be less likely to cause a fire, and less likely to burn your sausages! Did you know a frying pan of oil, even on the BBQ, can ignite in less than 60 seconds?
Look after the little ones
Introduce a ‘no-go zone’ to keep the kids and pets safe. Make sure they’re also supervised while the barbie is on, as well as when it’s cooling down.
Check it’s safe
Once you’re finished, check you’ve turned the gas off properly, or thoroughly doused the ashes before leaving it unattended. Make sure it’s cooled completely before putting the cover back on or moving it.
Give it a good clean
Thoroughly scrub the drip tray and grill with boiling soapy water and wipe any oil, fat or grease off the gas jets. If you’re after a time saver, line the drip tray with aluminium foil and put some fat absorber in the tray. This should cover you for about 10 barbecues.
Check and maintain the fittings and connections on your BBQ and LPG gas bottle. A quick test to make sure there are no gas leaks is the soap bubble test. Turn the gas on and pour some soapy solution (1/4 cup of water and a squirt of liquid soap) over the valve. If bubbles form, you could have a gas leak and the cylinders O-ring might need replacing. Don’t forget to also check your gas bottles expiry date; this can be found stamped on the neck of your gas bottle. Remember, if your BBQ needs servicing or repairs, always ensure it’s done according to the manufacturer instructions.
Get a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it
Already have one? Check it each year to see that it’s in good working order. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, a Class F extinguisher is best for extinguishing cooking oil and fat fires. A fire blanket is also useful for smothering these types of fires as well as wrapping around a person to smother clothing fires. For more great advice, check out the Fire and Emergency NZ website.