TAYSIDE Fire and Rescue is encouraging those looking forward to a spot of al fresco dining to stay safe while enjoying barbecues and the good weather.
Colin Robb, district liaison manager for Tayside Fire and Rescue, said: “Rarely does a year go by without reports of serious injuries sustained when something has gone wrong at a barbecue.
“Last time accident figures were collected, around 1,800 people visited A&E in the UK having had an accident involving a barbecue. Of those people, around 800 had suffered a barbecue-related burn or scald, and 200 had suffered a cut. The vast majority of barbecue accidents - 1,400 - happened at home, with 300 occurring in a public place.
“It is important to remember a few basic safety precautions, and plan your barbecue well, so that everyone can have fun without any trips to A&E.
Tayside Fire and Rescue advise that barbecue lovers should take the following precautions:
l When choosing a barbecue, stability is essential - ensure the one you choose is strong and sturdy.
l Check the barbecue is in good condition (particularly if you have not used it for some time); look for loose or damaged parts requiring adjustment or repair.
l Consider the location - level ground, away from fences, sheds and overhanging trees, which have been known to catch fire.
l Never light a barbecue in an enclosed space.
l Prepare the barbecue early to ensure it is at the right temperature by the time you want to cook.
l Particular care should be taken in hot, dry weather to reduce the risk of starting a grass fire.
l Never pour petrol, paraffin or other accelerants on to a barbecue. Some of the most serious barbecue-related accidents happen when people do this and the barbecue "explodes" in their face. Use firelighters rather than BBQ lighter fluid to start.
l Use long-handled tools.
l Be careful of steam when opening foil parcels.
l Remember that the metal parts of a barbecue can become hot - don't try to move it until it has cooled down.
l Don't leave children unsupervised near a barbecue.
l Make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished before you leave it.
l Take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue, or barbecue coals - ensure they have cooled down before placing them in a bin.
Around 30 people each year are injured as a result of gas grill fires and explosions, many of which occur when using a grill that hasn't been used for a while. They can also occur just after refilling and reattaching the grill's gas container.
Tayside Fire and Rescue advise the following safety checks:
l Clear any blockages in the grill hoses with a pipe cleaner.
l Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks.
l Check and replace scratched or nicked connectors that may leak gas.
l If you find a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't use the grill until the leak is fixed.
l Keep lit cigarettes, matches and open flames away from grill.
l Put the grill at least 10 feet away from any building.
l Transport and store containers in an upright position.
l To repair the regulator valve see an LPG gas dealer or a qualified appliance repairer.
l Always follow the grill manufacturer's instructions.
l Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces. If you can't move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
l Never store a spare gas cylinder indoors or near the grill as heat will cause the gas pressure to increase.
l Never store or use flammable liquids near the grill.
l If you are planning to have a barbecue in a public place, the same precautions apply. Ensure that you are allowed to barbecue at the location you intend to use and never leave the barbecue unattended.
For further information and advice, visit the Tayside Fire and Rescue website, www.taysidefire.gov.uk. To arrange a free Home Fire Safety visit please contact 0300 123 9998 or text “Check’’ to 61611.