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Safe use of gas barbecues

We went to a family barbecue at the weekend. Being a bit old-fashioned, we were very scathing about the fact that the host was using a gas barbecue. But in fact it produced beautifully-cooked lamb and chicken (although you might say it lacked that normal charcoal flavour – and the added ‘crunch’!).

There were lots of children running around so as always my thoughts turned to safety. Many Fire & Rescue services provide safety guidelines for using gas barbecues which you can find online, but here’s a list from Avon F&R:

  • Never store gas cylinders under the stairs: if there is a fire they might explode and block your escape route. Store them outside, away from direct sunlight and frost.
  • Take care when turning bottled gas barbecues on and off.
  • Make sure the tap is turned off before changing the gas cylinder.
  • After you’ve cooked, turn the gas supply off first and then the barbecue control. This will stop any gas from leaking.
  • If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas cylinder and try brushing soapy water around all joints, watching for bubbles.
  • Make sure all joints are tightened, safe and secure.
  • Change gas cylinders outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.

Of course, most of the normal safety warnings about charcoal barbecues also apply to gas barbecues, especially about keeping children and pets away from the cooking area, and keeping the barbecue away from sheds, fences, trees, shrubs and garden waste.

Let’s hope the weather over the summer stays warm and dry enough to enable lots of safe barbecues.

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