The Hidden Danger of Barbeques

It has been said that the British summer consists of two fine days and thunderstorm. When the sun does appear you’ll find us rushing outside to celebrate; tops come off, sunglasses go on and with a cold beer in hand we rush to our trusty Barbeque (often hidden at the back of the shed or garage from the one day we used it last year).

Unfortunately, the average Brit’s sense of health and safety also seems to go out the window with the excitement of finally seeing this elusive sun. Sunscreen is sneered at, we slide down mats covered in water and fairy washing up liquid ruining gardens, and we bring our barbeques indoors.

A couple in Hampshire were saved from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning having brought a barbecue into the conservatory in their home. The fire had gone out but the heat was still giving off carbon monoxide which set off the house alarm. This again highlights the importance of having a working carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm.

Surprisingly this is not an isolated incident and The Gas Safe Register has revealed shocking new figures about the number of dangerous incidents the National Grid was called to last year including gas leaks, fires, minor explosions and thousands of cases related to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Many of these incidents were to outdoor gas appliances including gas barbecues and gas heaters – something many of us take for granted in the garden.

Barbecues can be lethal if not maintained correctly, especially portable barbecues as they are often used in an enclosed space and despite years of controversy, the patio heater is still common place in both pub beer gardens and people’s homes. People also think that a barbecue is safe once the flames are out, but in reality it will still be pumping out carbon monoxide for up to 12 hours.

With camping season upon us we have pulled together some tips to help keep the British public safe;

  1. Ensure you have your gas barbecue serviced on an annual basis (like you would your normal boiler)
  2. If you have problems with your gas barbecue, don’t try and fix it yourself – call a gas safe registered engineer.
  3. Make sure your barbecue is on a flat service on ground level, where it isn’t in danger of tipping over
  4. Never leave the barbecue unattended or bring indoors!
  5. Never use petrol or paraffin on a gas barbecue – just use approved barbecue fuel
  6. Even if you have finished cooking your BBQ should remain outside as it will still give off fumes for some hours after use

Have fun in the sun but stay safe out there!


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