Smart Summer Barbequing

Friday, August 15, 2014

BBQ safetyWhether you’re throwing a couple of shrimp on the barbie for company or smoking up some smokies for the kids, barbequing is practically a summer institution in Canada.  Firing up the grill is also a great way to enjoy sizzling Canadian summers without adding to soaring indoor temperatures – especially for the roughly half of all Canadian families that don’t have air conditioned homes.  But, barbeques are also responsible for thousands of injuries and damages each year as Canadians fail to heed basic grilling precautions.

Location, Location, Location

It’s no secret that barbeques get hot.  Fire and burn hazards aside, they will melt and warp vinyl siding.   If you store your barbeque against the house, make sure you pull it a good distance away from the siding before you light it.  If you have trees, you will also want to make sure there are no low-hanging branches nearby.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

… and your lungs… and your house.   Propane, gas, and charcoal all release carbon monoxide rich smoke which can be life-threatening when inhaled.  Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to lung damage due to smoke inhalation.  Make sure your barbequing area is well-ventilated and that the smoke isn’t entering the house through open windows. 

Like a Moth to a Flame

Aside from the obvious hazards associate with open flames, barbeques conduct heat, making even a closed barbeque without visible flames scorching hot.  Propane tanks and easy light pilots make barbeques dangerous for kids even when they aren’t in use, so keep a lock on the propane and teach them to keep a respectable distance even when the appliance is dormant.

Come on Baby, Light my Fire

Always read the instructions before using your grill.  Allow lighter fluids and other accelerants to soak in and the fumes to evaporate before lighting the coals to avoid fire balls.  Never use an accelerant with propane or gas barbeques, and never light a closed barbeque. 

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

But, more importantly, it could prevent a grease fire.  Clean your barbeque thoroughly after each use to ensure that build up doesn’t spoil your next grilling session.  If you are using a wire brush to clean the grates, be sure that no bristles are left behind.  Wire bristles are hard to spot and, when accidentally ingested, can cause painful repercussions and even death.  Finally, Don’t forget to make sure that the barbeque is fully extinguished and cooled, gas lines are turned off, and no foodstuffs are left behind to attract wildlife before you cover and put the grill away.