How to enjoy BBQs, chimineas and pizza ovens safely in the summer


With summer literally just around the corner, it’s time to unpack your outdoor leisure equipment in readiness for the glorious sunshine.

From the delicious aroma of steak sizzling on the BBQ, to cosy evenings huddled around the chiminea, there is nothing quite like summer for enjoying time outdoors.

Yet like all equipment where gas, fuel and flames are involved, BBQs, chimineas and pizza ovens come with serious risks that can take the fun out of a summer’s day.

This summer, enjoy BBQs, chimineas and pizza ovens safely with these essential tips.

Ensure your BBQ, chiminea and pizza oven are set up safely.

Set up is important because it helps reduce the risk of accidents and fire. Outdoor cooking and heating equipment should only ever be used outdoors. They should be set up on a level surface to prevent them tipping over and placed away from windy areas and from trees, shrubs and other combustible or flammable materials.

Chimineas generate a serious amount of heat and should be set-up on a base of either sand, terracotta or slate to prevent heat travelling to flammable surfaces close by. In particular, never set up a BBQ, chiminea or pizza oven on a balcony, nor decking or wooden surfaces where they can catch fire easily.  Always comply with the installation information that comes with the equipment’s instructions.

Inspect your equipment before use.

If you are using gas to fuel your BBQ or pizza oven, pay close attention to the tank, hose and attachments to check they are in safe working order. When equipment is exposed to weather it is prone to wear and tear. Repairs and replacements should be made immediately and always before use. 

Regularly clean your BBQ grill, plates and trays.

When grease builds up in a BBQ, it increases the risk of fire. It is important to keep your BBQ grill, plates and tray clean by giving them a quick scour and wipe down after every use. If you are using coals, make sure they have cooled completely before you discard them.

Never use chemicals or flammable liquids to start a fire.

You should only ever use your outdoor cooking and heating equipment as instructed by the manufacturer and use the fuel that is recommended. If you are using solid fuels to start a fire, start with kindling to get a small fire going and build up to larger pieces of wood from there. Resist the temptation to get fires moving faster by adding petrol or other flammable liquids because they have been known to cause fire, severe burns and injury.

If you are using gas for your BBQ or pizza oven and the flame goes out, always turn the gas off and then wait for five minutes before attempting to relight it.

Never leave a lit BBQ, chiminea or pizza oven unattended.

Even just a quick dash into the kitchen to get some extra onions, or peering through the sitting room window to see the match score can result in disaster. Always stay with cooking and heating equipment when in use, and afterwards, until it has cooled down. Pets, children and guests should always be kept away from heat and fuel sources to prevent the risk of burns and other injuries.

Let your equipment cool down before moving

Even when you have finished with your outdoor cooking and heating equipment, they still could be very hot for some time. Wait for them to cool down entirely before moving them to avoid the risk of burns and injury.

Stay on guard and be prepared.

The summer is a time to relax and have fun, but if you are on BBQ, pizza or chiminea duty, you must stay on guard. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and keep your wits about you to prevent accidents and burns. It is a good idea to always have an appropriate fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand close by to help control grease and chiminea fires, and a garden hose for any trees and vegetation that catch alight.

Keep your chiminea fire small

Chimineas, when used according to the safety instructions, are far safer than a bonfire or fire pit because flames are directed in a controlled fashion up the chiminea stack. They are however designed for small fires so if you see flames leap from the chiminea’s mouth, the fire is too big. Take steps to protect your chiminea from the elements and never pour water directly on the heat source unless in an emergency as the sudden shock of the cold water can crack the material. 

What to do in the event of a fire

Fire extinguishers are important and essential safety equipment for the home and you should have the right type of fire extinguisher on hand to deal with different types of fire. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher handy, you can use sand to put out a grease fire and a fire in the chiminea. Water can be used to help put out fires in the garden if trees or shrubs have caught alight.

If the fire is bigger than you can manage, you should call the fire brigade on 112 from your mobile, or 999 from your landline, for help.

Unfortunately, there are some fires that originate from outdoor cooking and heating equipment that cannot be brought under control, putting homes, vehicles and valuables at risk.

If your home catches fire, phone the fire brigade immediately, if you haven’t done so already. Stay well away from the fire and don’t attempt to go inside the house to recover your items. Wait for the fire brigade to arrive, and don’t go back inside the house until it is declared safe to do so.

A house fire can be devastating and, in the aftermath, it is important to get support to help relieve the burden of putting together the paperwork for an insurance claim.

For advice and support in the aftermath of a fire, call CMG before your insurer, and we can take care of all the paperwork and negotiations with your insurance company and their loss adjuster, to secure the best possible settlement under the terms of your policy. Call CMG on 028 8224 9015 (Northern Ireland) or 0818 118 118 (Republic of Ireland) to find out how we can help.

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