Canadians enjoy some of the best spring and summer seasons. They take advantage of the great weather to have lots of fun outdoor activities. Barbecuing, for example, is one of the most popular family events in the spring and summer months.
If it’s your first time to have a barbecue, it’s important to observe safe practices especially if you’re planning on doing it while camping. According to Environment Canada, approximately 8,000 wildfires occur each year in Canada, burning an average area of 2.5 million hectares. About 55% of these fires are human-caused (Wildfires, getprepared.gc.ca).
Important: Before setting up any open fires, backyard fire pits, or using charcoal and wood-burning barbecues (and other recreational fires) check the weather. Dry and windy weather can cause fires to spread rapidly. The City can also impose a fire ban. Under a ban, even those issued with a permit should not start these types of recreational/open fires. Check the Fire Paramedic Service in your area for advisories.
Here are five safety tips to enjoy your barbeque while protecting your family and community:
Before you start a bonfire or barbecue, make sure that you are prepared with the basics. For example, have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to operate it. List all emergency contacts, such as the fire department, in an easily accessible place. It is also a great idea to have a bucket of water nearby or a hose that is fixed to a water pipe if possible.
Know where to do it
Choose the location of your activities carefully. Never start an open fire for cooking indoors. When setting up outside, keep your distance from trees, tents, and other objects that could catch fire easily. Never leave a lit grill or open campfire unattended. Wind can fan the flames and make it bigger or spread farther. Kids can also play nearby and get injured. Speaking of kids, don’t let them play with matches and barbeque lighters or light fireworks unsupervised by adults.
Use proper equipment and tools
Use equipment that you know how to operate. Learn how to use them safely or ask someone who knows how to show you. Don’t use gasoline to start a campfire or use it for your grill if it’s not intended. When cooking, use long-handled grilling utensils and tongs. Also, have heat-resistant oven mitts to limit exposure to heat or flames.
Clean and maintain your grill
Always clean your barbecue grill before and after each use. This reduces the build-up of grease that can make surfaces flammable. It will also ensure the freshness of your food. Check your propane tanks for leaks or damage periodically. Ask a professional to do this if you don’t know how.
If there is a fire, your safety and the safety of others should be always the priority. Don’t be a hero and try to put out a fire that is out of hand. You can get injured or make the situation worse. Call the authorities, keep your distance from the flames, and seek shelter.
by Bedel Shafea
Article updated July 15, 2021.
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