DEALING WITH WASTE All cooker types and cooking methods create waste products. Even natural fires leave behind semi-burnt sticks, ash, burnt/ blackened rocks and damaged ground. Cookers require fuel that is usually supplied in plastic containers, ready to be transferred to the specific cooker’s own fuel container. LPG canisters are left empty once their contents have been used. Always ensure you: ▲▲ wash out and recycle all plastic fuel containers ▲▲ dispose of LPG canisters responsibly – if they can’t be recycled then discard them appropriately ▲▲ do not try to burn waste products or leave them at the campsite or in the hut. Carry out what you carry in ▲▲ tidy up the campfire area and scatter the cold ashes on the surrounding forest floor.
OUTDOOR COOKING SAFETY GUIDE
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USEFUL CONTACTS TRAVELLING WITH FUEL AND COOKERS Make sure all equipment is sealed and secure prior to travelling and that it can’t get knocked or damaged while in transit. Always check with your airline about their travel procedures before taking a cooking appliance or fuel container with you on a flight.
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Avalanche Advisory www.avalanche.net.nz
National Incident Database www.incidentreport.org.nz
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Federated Mountain Clubs NZ www.fmc.org.nz
NZ Walking Access Commission www.walkingaccess.govt.nz
Leave No Trace www.leavenotrace.org.nz
STAYING SAFE WHEN COOKING OUTDOORS
New Zealand Plan your trip
The Outdoor Safety
Tell someone Be aware of the weather Know your limits
Take sufficient supplies
Mountain Safety Council PO Box 6027 Wellington, 6141 Tel 04 385 7162, Fax 04 385 7366 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.mountainsafety.org.nz | www.avalanche.net.nz www.adventuresmart.org.nz | www.incidentreport.org.nz
SAFER PLACES, SAFER ACTIVITIES, SAFER PEOPLE 03/14
OVERVIEW This pamphlet focuses on the safety-related aspects of using cooking appliances in the outdoors. However, much of the advice is also applicable to other fuel-powered appliances such as gas lamps or fridges. Cooking in the outdoors, whether using an appliance or over an open fire, can be quite a different and enjoyable experience from cooking at home. There are numerous outdoor cooking appliances available, which each have their own unique functions, advantages and disadvantages. No matter which method you choose, there are several key elements that are consistent across them all: ▲▲ ▲▲ ▲▲ ▲▲
they need some form of fuel to operate they need airflow they output heat they create a waste product.
USING FUEL Whatever fuel your method uses, it has the potential to cause serious harm.
AIRFLOW All cookers, both natural and manufactured, need airflow to work properly. Inadequate airflow can cause serious harm. When your fuel burns, it combines with oxygen to produce light (like a flame) and the heat you need to cook your food. When there is adequate airflow, carbon dioxide and water vapour are produced. When there isn’t enough air, poisonous gas called carbon monoxide is also produced. Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic chemical that is odourless and causes symptoms such as headaches, nausea and dizziness. Prolonged exposure could result in poisoning and even death.
MANAGING HEAT Heat from your cooker is the result of the combustion process, and exactly what you need to make your dinner! However, the same heat can also cause harm like burns. To avoid injury: ▲▲ use pot grips or suitable utensils when stirring your food or moving your pot ▲▲ let the cooker cool down before you touch it ▲▲ cook on the ground in a controlled area or on the cooking benches provided in most huts ▲▲ don’t cook on unstable surfaces or in places where the cooker/pot could fall onto someone below ▲▲ campfires should be small and use only dead materials as fuel.
OVERHEATING Never expose your fuel canister or bottle to excessive heat. This may seem odd when you consider it’s connected to the cooking appliance and often no more than a few centimetres from the flame, however you should: ▲▲ use the windshield provided with some cooking appliances to protect the fuel bottle/canister ▲▲ avoid using cooking utensils that have highly reflective surfaces, as these can reflect heat towards the fuel bottle/ canister ▲▲ give your cooker a rest every so often to let it cool down. Do not operate the cooker for long periods of time without turning it off.
REFUELLING You’ll eventually need to refuel your cooker, so make sure you: ▲▲ don’t refuel the cooker while it’s still operating ▲▲ don’t refuel in the ‘kitchen’ area. Move to a safe spot where you won’t affect anyone else ▲▲ let the cooker cool down before refuelling it ▲▲ refuel on the ground. Don’t hold the cooker and fuel bottle/ canister in the air.
To ensure you have enough airflow:
▲▲ always cook outside or open a window in the hut near the cooking area ▲▲ don’t use cookers or any other fuel-operated appliance in confined spaces ▲▲ don’t cook or use gas-powered lamps or other appliances in your tent ▲▲ give your flame room to burn. It should just touch the bottom of your pot.
It is essential to make sure you always store fuel correctly, whether you are travelling to or from your campsite or while the cooker is in use. Make sure you:
Always ensure your cooking/camping appliances are in good working order and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
▲▲ keep fuel bottles/canisters that aren’t being used at least five metres away from the cooking area ▲▲ gently release any pressure that has accumulated in the appliance after use and before storing it ▲▲ clearly mark your fuel bottles so they aren’t mistaken for something else ▲▲ store your fuel in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.
SELECTING A COOKING SITE Select a cooking site that has a clear area, free of dry material such as long dry grass or leaf matter. Think about the trees and bushes around you and position yourself far enough away so they aren’t adversely affected. Look for a cooking area that is flat and obstacle-free so when you’re moving around you’re less likely to trip over. Consider the size of the cooker you have and how much space this will require to operate. When staying in a hut always use the cooking bench, if provided. Never cook on the hut floor, on hut seats or in the sleeping area.
GROUP MANAGEMENT The biggest hazard when cooking in the outdoors is other people. Knocking the cooker over, spilling the pot’s contents and not paying attention to the task at hand are all contributing factors. Setting some clear rules will help ensure a safe experience. ▲▲ Set a boundary around the cooking area, only the ‘cooks’ are allowed in this zone ▲▲ Shoes (closed-toed) must be worn when cooking ▲▲ If you’re using an open fire, wear clothing that is flame retardant ▲▲ Cook and carry pots full of hot water/food low to the ground ▲▲ Don’t sit around the cooker in case it is knocked over. Crouch or kneel instead so you can react quicker ▲▲ Use pot grips ▲▲ Tell people when you’re moving around.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS When cooking in the outdoors, it is important to consider how your actions may impact the environment around you. MSC encourages outdoor users to embrace the seven principles of Leave No Trace. The most relevant to outdoor cooking are: ▲▲ dispose of waste properly – carry out what you carry in ▲▲ don’t leave food scraps behind, as this promotes pest activity and can affect other users’ experience ▲▲ minimise campfire impacts – make sure you’re allowed a campfire in your specific area and if available use an existing fire site ▲▲ campfires should be small and only use dead materials as fuel ▲▲ extinguish the campfire with water and restore the site to its original state.