Carbon Monoxide safety whilst BBQing

With the barbecuing season just around the corner, many of us will be looking forward to enjoying the great outdoors and cooking up a storm with family and friends. However there is a serious side to lighting up our BBQs that we cannot afford to ignore.

As a colourless and odourless gas, Carbon Monoxide (CO) can often go unnoticed. According to the NHS, approximately 200 people become seriously ill due to CO poisoning each year, and many of these cases could have been avoided had there been a better understanding of the gas and how to avoid coming into contact with it.

Unfortunately, due to how all BBQs function, the production of Carbon Monoxide is unavoidable, but contrary to common perception, CO is produced by both charcoal and gas BBQs when fuel burns incompletely. There are a number of points to take into consideration to be gas safe when lighting up your BBQ this summer, which are outlined below.

  • Never place your BBQ in an enclosed area, whether in a tent, caravan or home. This is applicable even after your BBQ has been extinguished as it can continue to emit the poisonous gas for a while after it has stopped burning.
  • Always check your BBQ over thoroughly prior to its use to ensure that it is functioning correctly and has not been damaged in any way. This is particularly essential when using a gas BBQ which may suffer from damage to its gas hoses, or from the gas bottle being incorrectly attached.
  • When you are finished using your gas BBQ, it is important to remember to cut off the gas supply before switching off your BBQ cut off the gas supply before switching off your BBQ. This will ensure that the last of the gas coming from the cylinder will be used by the BBQ prior to it being switched off.
  • Always follow the instructions provided with your BBQ and gas cylinder. If you have any doubts about the use of either, consult your manuals or contact the manufacturers customer service team.
  • When changing a gas cylinder, ensure that the taps have been turned off before switching over. This process should also be carried out in a well-ventilated area outside.
  • Be aware of the signs of CO poisoning such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and feeling very weak and contact your doctor immediately if in trouble.

Remember, Carbon Monoxide can take effect swiftly and silently with few signs of its presence, therefore it is essential that caution is always maintained when enjoying your BBQ. By following the guidance above you can enjoy a fun and safe summer of grilling.