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Fire Safety tips for the BBQ season

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Every year, Canadians spend quality time with family and friends enjoying the taste of BBQ cooking! However, few take the time to follow simple fire safety tips that can help you and your family enjoy a safe BBQ season.

General Tips:

Only use BBQs outdoors… The risk of fire or asphyxiation could result if used indoors or any enclosed spaces, such as tents or garages.

  • Place the BBQ at least a 3 m distance from your home or other structures and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Make sure your grill is located on a flat, level surface.
  • Keep BBQ away from paths of travel and play areas.
  • Use long-handled utensils to keep a safe distance from heat and flames.
  • When a BBQ is in use, never leave it unattended.
  • Keep children and pets away from the BBQ.
  • Ensure BBQ is fully cooled off before covering or storing away.
  • If possible, have a portable residential fire extinguisher nearby.

Propane/Natural gas BBQ:

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
  • Inspect venturi holes for insect nests or spider web that could restrict air entry.
  • Keep your BBQ clean, remove grease or fat buildup from the gills and in trays below the grill.
  • Always make sure your BBQ lid is open before lighting it.

All propane cylinders manufactured must have an overfill protection device (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPD’s are easily identified by their triangular- shaped hand wheel.

If your BBQ has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

Charcoal or woodchips BBQ:

Make sure your grill is located on a non-combustible surface.
Use only approve BBQ starter fluid or briquettes. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids in the fire.
Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
If using an electric charcoal starter, use extension cords rated for outdoor use only.
When grilling is finished, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container. If water is used to speed up the cooling, use extreme caution to avoid the steam and splatters, which can cause burns.

The Office of the Canadian Forces Fire Marshal wishes you a happy and safe BBQ season.

Source: The Maple Leaf