Barbecue & Portable Heater Safety

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Barbecue safety

Fire in a propane barbecue in summer

Tips

Fire and carbon monoxide poisoning that can be caused by the improper use of fuel-powered/heating appliances. Keep you and your family safe by:

  • BBQs, including gas, propane or charcoal, should only be used outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings.
  • Never use BBQs inside garages, even if the garage doors are open. If used in an enclosed space (garage, house, shed), carbon monoxide (CO) – an odourless, colourless, poisonous gas – will gather and reach dangerous exposure levels, which can lead to serious health effects, or even death.
  • Propane cylinders may not be used or stored inside any structure.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

At the start of the BBQ season

Do this three-step safety check of your BBQ:

1. Clean – Use a pipe cleaner or wire to ensure burner ports are free of rust, dirt, spider webs or other debris.
2. Check – Examine the hose leading from the tank to the burners. Replace it if cracked or damaged.
3. Test – Find leaks by applying a 50/50 solution of water and dish soap to propane cylinder connections and hoses. If bubbles appear, tighten the connection and/or replace the damaged parts and retest.

Portable heater safety

  • Ensure all portable fuel-burning heaters are vented properly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure all portable fuel-fired heaters are equipped with a safety tip-over shut-off feature and bear the mark of an accredited testing agency.
  • Keep portable heaters at least one metre (three feet) away from anything that can burn, including curtains, wall coverings, upholstery, clothing and people.
  • Keep all doorways and halls clear. In case of fire, a heater should not be blocking your escape.
  • Place heaters in areas where they will not get bumped or knocked over.
  • Prevent burns by keeping children away from portable heaters which can reach extremely high surface temperatures.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm ourside of all sleeping areas to alert you to the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
  • Exposure to CO can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, as well as confusion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness and death.
  • If your CO alarm sounds, get everyone out of the home immediately. Then call 9-1-1 from outside the building.
  • Install working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas to alert you to a fire in your home. 
  • Test your smoke and CO alarms monthly by pressing the test button to ensure they work.
  • Develop and practise a home fire escape plan with your family.

 

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