The Campbell River Fire Department is reminding the public how to stay safe while having fun this barbecue season. Photo courtesy City of Campbell River

Campbell River Fire Department wants everyone to stay safe this barbecue season

Fire Chief Thomas Doherty has some handy tips for residents

Now that summer is in full swing, the lakes and beaches are getting more crowded, the giant ice cream cones are flying out of the window at Discovery Pier and people are welcoming their friends and family over for summer barbecues.

But while outdoor grilling is a popular way to cook during the warmer months, the Campbell River Fire Department is warning that barbecue season is accompanied by an increased risk of home fires and injuries.

Fire chief Thomas Doherty says that barbecues, “are a great way to connect with family and friends during the summer,” and has provided some tips to help you stay safe while doing so.

Doherty says you should always complete a barbecue safety check, cleaning, and maintenance prior to initial use each year, ensuring hoses are clear and in good repair with no cracks, there are no insect nests that can block hoses and all worn or rusted fittings, flex hoses or burners are replaced.

Check your cylinder connections for leaks before lighting your barbecue for the first time each season or any time you have replaced the tank, too. A leak-detection solution of equal parts liquid soap and water is a handy way to make sure all connections are tight.

For ventilation and safety, always barbecue in the open at least three metres away from windows and doors. Never barbecue in an enclosed space such as a garage. Also ensure you keep barbecues clear of wooden surfaces, combustible roof overhangs or trees with low branches. Be extra careful about the area behind the barbeque where hot gases escape and could create a fire hazard.

Never store propane cylinders in your home.

Don’t allow grease to build up. Clean the burners and grill regularly to minimize the risk of a serious grease fire.

When finished cooking, turn the propane valve off first. This allows the gas in the hose to burn off. Turn off burner controls last so that no gas remains trapped in the hose.

For a briquette barbecue, be sure to place ashes in a non-combustible (metal) container filled with water prior to disposing.

If your barbecue catches fire, call 9-1-1 immediately. Barbecue fires are typically a result of grease buildup, poor maintenance, or leaks in the supply line. If it is safe to do so, shut the gas off to the barbecue at the cylinder. This will stop the flow of fuel from the cylinder and eliminate an even greater danger.

Doherty is also reminding the public about the current level of fire restriction.

“Recreational fires no larger than 24 inches (60 centimetres) in diameter used for cooking or providing heat, are currently permitted,” Doherty says, but adds the fire department “is closely monitoring the conditions and may ban the use of recreational fires at any time.”

Please check local and provincial fire restrictions before lighting any fire.

For more information on barbeque and recreational fire safety and regulations visit campbellriver.ca/fire