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Barbeque season is here! Cooking outdoors is one of summertime’s pleasures. According to 2020 data, barbequing is on the rise as more Canadians are finding a renewed passion for grilling. While people barbeque all year – July is the peak month for grilling and prime time for accidents, injuries, and fires. BFL Canada, one of the largest risk management, insurance brokerage, and benefits consulting firms in Canada provides risk control tips when using the BBQ outdoors.
1. When you BBQ, you are cooking with fire!
Cooking with fire can pose a hazard for all those around you. Great care must be taken to avoid a potential fire getting out of control. Grilling causes approximately 10,600 fires per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. For this reason, most condo corporations restrict the use of barbeques. Read your condo bylaws carefully to make sure they are permitted before you light up.
Did you know? Balconies are more vulnerable to fires because they may not have sprinklers or smoke detectors. This allows the fire to grow faster and be discovered only when seen from the exterior.
6 out of 10 residental fires ignite from cooking appliances and smoking or open-flame objects.Source: NFPA’s Applied Research
2. Damage from fires that start outside…
- Require more resources to extinguish;
- are 2.4 times costlier than the average loss associated with multi-family building fires;
- are 4 times more likely to spread to other properties.
3. Before barbequing, remember:
- Set your BBQ up on an even surface, at least two feet away from flammable material, windows & doors, wood railings and walls.
- Inspect and clean your BBQ. Ensure the grill is clean of rust, debris, and grease build up. A dirty grill accounts for more than 29% of the home structure fires.
Grease fires can happen to any griller on any grill. They occur when the drip pan is full and grease reaches its maximum temperature. This is why it’s important to clean your grill and empty the drip pan often.
TIP: If you start a grease fire, close the lid and turn the grill off immediately. Never add water or flour as it will explode. It’s best to use a fire extinguisher or baking soda to put the fire out.
4. When lighting up the barbeque, remember:
- Open the hood.
- Open gas release valve.
- Turn on BBQ controls.
- Step back & push igniter.
5. If the fire on the barbeque goes out…
Never relight it immediately! The risk of explosion is higher. Firstly, turn off the gas and open the lid. Let the gas leave the BBQ and wait at least 5 minutes before relighting.
It takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a major fire so always remember to:
1. Never leave your grill unattended.
2. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby at a safe distance from the barbeque.
3. Use long handed cooking utensils and heat resistant mitts.
6. When you’ve finished grilling, remember:
- Turn off your grill and close the gas release.
- Allow the grill to cool before closing the cover.
- Discard the cooled coals in a metal container.
7. More risk control tips:
- If using a charcoal BBQ, check charcoals have cooled completely before discarding. This might take several hours!
- Never store your propane tank, charcoal, or other fuel sources inside.
- When transporting, place the gas tank on the floor of the car with valves upward and windows open.
- Propane and natural gas are oudorless. A “rotten egg smell” is added for safety reasons. If the smell is gone, the has has likely dissipated.
- In case of a fire, call 911 and evacuate.
Apply these tips for a safe summer of grilling!
- BFL Canada: https://www.bflcanada.ca/
- National Fire Protection Association: https://www.nfpa.org/
- Fires that Commence on Balconies of Multi-Residental Buildings: https://www.ufv.ca/media/assets/criminology/Balcony-Fires.pdf
- Magnum York’s emergency guidelines: https://magnumyork.com/contact-us/emergency-request-2/