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How To Keep Your Barbecuing Safe

August 15, 2011

Summer and barbecuing go hand-in-hand. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Bratwurst,
Chicken Legs, Salmon, Veggie Kebabs. Food just smells and tastes better when grilled outdoors while relaxing on the patio.

Whether you use a propane or charcoal-fired grill, you want to make sure to keep barbecuing a safe summer activity.

Here are some safety tips to follow:

  • If your barbecue has not been used for a while or whenever you change or refill the propane tank, remove the grates and lava rocks to make sure that the burner holes and tubes connected to the burners are free of rust and debris.  Fire up the bbq and check for an even flame throughout the burner.  If the flame is not even, replace the burner.  Burners should be replaced at least every other season.  While the lava rocks are removed, clean out any ash or grease that has accumulated.
  • Periodically, check all the barbecue connections and supply lines for leaks. Using ordinary dishwashing liquid mixed with water, spread the solution over all fittings.  Bubbles will indicate a leak.  Never use an open flame to test for leaks.
  • Open the lid Before lighting the barbecue. A leaking or open valve may cause the accumulation of propane under the lid and could cause an explosion when lit.
  • Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.
  • Never move a lit barbecue.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools and fire-resistant oven mitts.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitted clothing that could catch fire.
  • The barbecue should rest on a solid surface and be located away from shrubbery, foot traffic and overhangs.  Remember, the bbq stays hot even after being turned off and can burn someone if they bump into it.
  • Ideally, the barbecue should be 3 meters (10feet) away from the house or anything else that could catch fire.  The area surrounding the barbecue needs to be free of any obstructions that could block airflow for ventilation and combustion.
  • Never use your barbecue indoors or in a garage.
  • Charcoal.  Never add charcoal starter fluid to coals that are already hot.  Doing so could cause an explosion.
  • Only open the propane thank  a quarter to a one-half turn, the necessary gas required to operate the barbecue.  This also makes it much easier to shut the bbq off should a problem arise.
  • A certain amount of fat will drip onto the heat source while cooking, causing flaring.  Some flaring is fine as it adds to the barbecue flavour.  Excessive flaring is not acceptable.  Food should be moved to another spot on the grill and/or the heat turned off.  Every so often, turn over the lava rocks or ceramic briquettes so the accumulated fat can burn off.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by.  Never use water on a grease fire as it only causes the flames to spread.  If fire surrounds the propane tank, leave the area immediately (to a distance of at least 200 metres from the tank) and call the fire department.
  • In case of a grease fire, leave the barbecue lid open and turn off the burners if you are able.  If not, turn off the gas supply at the shut-off valve.
  • At all times, keep children away from the barbecue and hot coals.

Keep your family safe while barbecuing!

If you don’t have a security system or don’t have it monitored, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation.  You will be glad you did!

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist,  MICROTEC SECURITY SYSTEMS, (780) 288-2986

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