AMA: Quick Tips For Safe Barbecuing

We all know summer is shorter than we’d like in Alberta. As we all try to fill our busy schedules with some jam-packed summer fun, barbecuing has to be the one our most popular pastimes here. Whether you’re flipping burgers, grilling steak or skewering some veggies, before you fire up that grill, here are a few tips to keep you safe this season.

Routine Maintenance

  • If you purchased a new barbecue for the season (we’re jealous!), make sure it’s properly assembled and installed. Keep the owner’s manual in a handy place for easy reference.
  • Before you start using your barbecue for the season, be sure to inspect and clean it, check for cobwebs, spiders, leaves, and wash the grates.
  • Use a flexible cleaning brush and check for defective parts. Replace any worn, damaged or rusted parts and spray soapy water on all the connections and supply lines. If you see bubbles, gas is escaping from that area, so turn off the tank and reconnect all hoses and fittings.
  • You may love to do all your errands in one day but when you need to refill your propane tank, make a separate trip and take it directly to and from the refilling or exchange station. Carry the tank in an upright direction and always store your tank in a well-ventilated area.

Using your Barbecue

  • We recommend you set up your barbecue at least one metre (three feet) from your house or any other combustible materials, such as fences, leaves or tree branches.
  • Open the lid prior to lighting the barbecue, use long-handled utensils and oven mitts when cooking and avoid wearing loose clothing that could potentially catch fire.
  • It’s best to never leave your barbecue unattended—fat drippings can cause dangerous flaring. Children and pets should also not be allowed to play near the barbecue, even when it’s not in use.

Cleaning Up

  • Once your meal is prepared, be sure to turn off your barbecue. Make sure the propane tank has been turned off, as well as the burners. Let it cool completely before you cover it.
  • Remember, the barbecue may still be hot after you’ve used it, so avoid direct contact to keep from getting burned. And be sure to store your barbecue and propane tank outdoors.
  • Keep a home fire extinguisher nearby in case of fire, and if a fire becomes larger than a waste basket, call 911.

For more tips and backyard fun, check out our BBQ safety video. Happy grilling!

(Source: Alberta Motor Association)