Home Insurance: Barbecue and Fire Pit Safety

It’s a mild, breezy summer evening, and you’ve got burgers on the grill. The sun is about to set, and friends and family members are gathering around the fire pit for a night of eating, conversation, and maybe even a little music. It’s a scene many people look forward to all year long, and for good reason.

The memories made around a grill or fire pit in the summer are the type that often last a lifetime. In order to keep those great memories coming, it’s important to keep safety in mind at all times when operating a fire pit or grill. Follow safety protocol before, during, and after the season to minimize risk to your home and loved ones.

Barbecue Safety Checklist

Before you kick off the grilling season, you need to make sure that your grill is ready to handle the job. Your preseason checklist should include a thorough inspection and cleaning of all grill components, according to the Canadian Technical Standards and Safety Authority.

  • Even with quality end-of-season cleaning, dust, cobwebs, rust and dirt are likely to build up in your propane or natural gas barbecue over the winter months. Start by cleaning the burner ports and burner orifice using a pipe cleaner or wire. This helps avoid dangerous blockages, and improves the efficiency of your barbecue.
  • Next, check the hose and other propane-related components for leaks. Never use any type of flame to search for leaks. Instead, apply a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent soap to hoses and connections, then check for rising bubbles, which indicate a leak.
  • If a leak is found in a connection area, make sure that connection is sealed properly, then check again. Replace any leaking, rusted, or otherwise damaged components. If you aren’t comfortable inspecting, cleaning, and repairing your grill, it’s always best to bring in an expert.

The need for safety consciousness doesn’t end once you’ve got your barbecue clean, sealed, and ready for summer. Be sure to use care when lighting, operating, cleaning and storing your barbecue during the season.

  • Always leave the lid open, and open the fuel supply valve prior to lighting your barbecue. If your grill has an ignition button, use that to light the burners after opening the valve. Otherwise, use a long match or lighter, and follow the instructions provided for lighting your specific model.
  • When grilling, avoid wearing loose clothing, never leave your barbecue unattended, and keep children away from the area. Make sure to use your barbecue is in an open area, and keep the fuel supply away from outside heat. Let your barbecue cool completely before closing the lid after use.
  • Clean grease and dirt from your barbecue regularly throughout the season. Grease buildup greatly increases the risk of fire. At the end of the season, clean your grill thoroughly, ensure that the fuel supply is off, and inspect your barbecue prior to storing it in a protected area.

Fire Pit Safety Tips

Before setting up and using your fire pit, make sure to consult the regulations in your area. Most areas have strict rules regarding outdoor fires, and sometimes elevated brush fire risk leads to a temporary ban. For Calgary citizens, you can find local regulations at the City of Calgary website.

  • In addition to regulations, it’s wise to keep common sense close at hand. Build fire receptacles from non-combustible materials, and avoid burning anything that gives off harmful fumes. Use only clean, dry firewood in your fire pit.
  • Pay attention to weather conditions when you are planning to use your fire pit. Windy conditions, especially, increase the risk of danger.
  • Manage flame height while your fire pit is in use, and place a screen over the top to keep sparks and embers from escaping.
  • Keep combustible materials as far as possible from an open flame, and never set up your barbecue near a tree, bush, or fence.
  • Always make sure that the fire is completely extinguished when the night ends.

Fire safety is important, just like your home insurance in Calgary. Stay safe, and you’ll be enjoying your fire pit and barbecue for years to come. At Bow Valley Insurance, we’re here to help you with all of your home insurance needs. From home evaluations and home insurance quotes, Bow Valley Insurance is the place to find the best home insurance.