Leaving barbecue unattended while it is still lit
Leaving a barbecue unattended increases the risk of a fire. Flare-ups can happen unexpectedly - especially when cooking fatty meats - and the intensity of the flames can damage the grill, or start a fire. Grease buildup, sparks and flammable materials can fuel the flames, which can then spread to nearby surfaces, vegetation, or structures.
The risks are not limited to the barbecue equipment either. Leaving food unattended on the grill can lead to undercooking, overcooking or burning. There should always be a responsible adult supervising the barbecue area and keeping children away at a safe distance. When you've finished cooking, turn the barbecue off and extinguish any flames completely before leaving the barbecue area.
Improper food handling and cooking practices
Food safety is vital to a healthy barbecue experience. Avoid thawing meat at room temperature as it can promote the growth of harmful bacteria. Marinate food in the refrigerator and not on the counter to prevent bacteria growth and keep perishable items chilled until ready to cook. Learn best practices for barbecuing different types of meat for healthy consumption.
Use separate utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked meats to prevent cross-contamination and wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. This will help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Properly cooked food requires constant monitoring to ensure that it is not undercooked, that it's free from harmful bacteria and safe for consumption.
Barbecue rules on Total Fire Ban days
Barbecue rules apply during Fire Danger Periods and Total Fire Bans, which are declared by the CFA. When a Total Fire Ban is declared, solid fuel barbecues that use wood, heat beads and other solid fuel types are banned, including outdoor rotisserie spits. Open flames, hot surfaces, and sparks from a barbecue could lead to a fire that endangers lives and property.
The CFA advises that only gas and electric barbecues that are commercially manufactured exclusively for cooking, or permanently fixed structure made of stone, metal or another non-flammable material can be used. Even then you must make sure that combustible material is more than three metres away from the barbecue, that you have access to a continuous supply of water, and that an adult supervises the cooking until the barbecue is turned off.
Damaged or worn-out barbecue equipment
Before firing up the grill, inspect it for any signs of wear, rust, or damage. Ensure that hoses and connections are secure, and replace any worn-out parts promptly. Do not refill or use a LPG cylinder if it is damaged, or if a licensed gasfitter has not tested it in more than ten years.
Clean the barbecue and remove the excess fat after each use to prevent fires. Having a clean grill also helps to ensure that your food is cooked in a hygienic environment.
Turn off your barbecue equipment when you have finished grilling. For gas barbecues, turn off the gas supply at the source. Allow the grill to cool before covering. If using a charcoal grill, ensure ashes are fully extinguished before disposal. Use a metal container designated for ash disposal.