Fires Started by BBQs
The most important safety tip is: Keep children and pets far away from grills.
Here’s how to use your propane barbecue safely:
- Barbecue on a solid surface, away from shrubbery, overhangs and foot traffic. Keep the area free from anything that might obstruct the flow of air for combustion and ventilation.
- Always light a gas barbecue with the lid open. A leaking or open valve can cause propane to accumulate under the lid or in the basin, and the gas could explode when lit.
- Before you turn on the propane, the match or lighter should already be burning. If the barbecue doesn't ignite, turn the control valves off, wait five minutes and try again. Keep matches/lighter out of the reach of children.
- Once the barbecue is lit, do not move it or leave it unattended.
- Never use a barbecue indoors or in a garage.
- Use long handled utensils and be aware that loose clothing could catch fire.
- Check for leaks. Leave the barbecue valve off and the cylinder valve on. Spread a soapy solution on all fittings and the hose. If bubbles appear, you have a leak and you must repair or replace the part(s) before using the barbecue again. Check the valves too. (Although propane gas is not toxic or dangerous in small quantities, a damaged or cracked hose can send out an invisible stream of propane that, if ignited, can become a jet of flame. Propane is odourless, but a distinctive smell is added so leaks can be easily detected.)
- As soon as you finish barbecuing, turn off the cylinder valve first, then the grill controls. This lets the gas in the lines burn off.
- Don't try to put out a fat or grease fire with water — it will only spread the flames. Turn off the propane and close the barbecue lid to smother the fire. If fire has engulfed the propane tank, evacuate the area immediately — at least 200 metres away from the tank — and call Fire & Protective Services.
Storage and transport:
- Store propane cylinders upright in a well-ventilated shed, away from children.
- During transport, insert a plastic valve plug in the gas outlet for added safety. Transport the propane cylinder upright and secured in a ventilated area (i.e. place the cylinder in the trunk in a tote box, then latch the trunk in an open position to allow for ventilation).
- The tank should only be filled by an authorized person who knows — and follows — proper safety precautions.
- Propane tanks can be refilled as long as it is within 10 years of the date they were manufactured. All tanks past the 10 year mark need to be requalified. The tank is examined for wear or damage and the pressure relief valve is replaced. The tank is then re-stamped with the authorised requalifier’s registered number.
- Never store a filled propane tank indoors. Keep flammable substances away from it and don't smoke around it. Propane settles to the lowest point where it isn't easily dispersed. It doesn't take much to cause an explosion...a pilot light, a spark of static electricity, even the flick of a light switch.
- With charcoal grills, use only charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit. Do not use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable solvents.
- Electric lighters are safer and do not pollute the air.
- Before discarding the coals, ensure that they are dead by dousing with water. Do not put coals in the garbage, in the compost heap, or spread them on your garden or yard until you are certain the coals are DEAD — cold!