July is BBQ and Fire-Pit Safety
Firefighters cook-up BBQ safety L-R: Tom Harnos, Fire Rescue Officer, GOA's Office of the Fire Commissioner; Mike Phillips, ATCO Gas and Bassano Fire Department volunteer; Ross Bennett, Fire Rescue Officer, GOA's Office of the Fire Commissioner; and Keith Martin, County of Newell Fire and Emergency Services. Follow these simple tips and you will be on the way to safe grilling.
There's nothing like outdoor grilling. It's one of the most popular ways to cook food. But, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries.
July is the peak month for grill fires and that's why this month, the Office of the Fire Commissioner is focused on BBQ and fire pit safety.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet or 1 metre away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- 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.
- If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or by soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and 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 15 minutes before re-lighting it.
A simple test for checking gas grill leaks
Fire-pits and Outdoor Burning
- Get a permit from your local municipality before starting any open-air, recreational, outdoor cooking fire, or agricultural burning. It's important to remember, you might not be permitted to do outdoor burning in some municipalities and during some seasons.
- Follow the rules, as outlined by your permit.
- Closely supervise all outdoor fires. Make sure the fire is out before leaving.
- Supervise children around any fire outdoors, including campfires, fire-pits, chimneys, and outdoor fireplaces.
- Permitted open fires, such as bonfires or trash fires, need to be at least 50 feet (15 meters) from anything that can burn.
- Permitted recreational fires such as campfires, need to be at least 25 feet (8 meters) away from anything can burn.
- Avoid burning on windy, dry days. When conditions are windy or dry, it is easy for open burning to spread out of control.
- Where outdoor burning is allowed, never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids.
- When burning, have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to extinguish the fire.