Barbecue season sparks warning

Vernon Fire Department urging residents to take caution with outdoor cooking devices

The arrival of warm weather reignites an interest in barbecuing but safety is paramount.

The Vernon Fire Department is urging residents to be cautious when using outdoor cooking devices.

“We average one to two gas barbecue incidents each year,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief.

“Some have involved melted vinyl siding, melted patio furniture and significant damage to decks and homes.”

Here are some tips for a safe barbecue season:

Lighting the barbecue

Always open the lid before lighting so that gas does not build up.

Open the cylinder valve first, then the burner. Immediately use the igniter switch.

If you do not have a working igniter switch, have your barbecue lighter handy when you are preparing to light the grill.

If the burner does not ignite, with the lid open, turn off the gas and wait five minutes before trying again.

When finished using the barbecue, close the propane cylinder first followed by the burner controls. This way, propane does not get trapped in the hose when the grill is not in use.

Everyday use

Use gas grills outdoors only to allow for enough ventilation.

Position your barbecue at least three metres away from windows, doors, wooden fences and walls, and branches.

Never use lighter fluid, gasoline or other accelerants on the grill.

Use long-handled tongs and brushes while grilling. It puts you at a safer distance away from the flames.

Make sure the barbecue is turned off, and completely cooled before covering.

Set-up and maintenance

Carefully follow the assembly instructions included with your barbecue.

Make sure the burners and tubes connected to the burners are rust and debris-free, and that the burner throat, where the propane enters the burner, is free of dust or cobwebs.

All hoses and joints should be carefully looked at to ensure there are no leaks where gas can escape. Leaks, if ignited can send out huge flames.

Clean the grill and burners regularly to avoid grease build-up.