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Barbecuing safely in the spring

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

May 6, 2011 — Anxious to do some barbecuing this spring? The Weather Network has some safety tips to consider before you fire up the grill.

Winter weather may have caused some problems for your BBQ
Winter weather may have caused some problems for your BBQ

With the weather starting to warm up in most parts of the country, many Canadians are celebrating the return of barbecue season.

Still, experts suggest giving your bbq a quick check-up after those long winter months. Snow can cause broken lines and corroded parts, which could pose a fire hazard.

Andrew Pitre, a fire fighter in Moncton, New Brunswick, is also known as the BBQ doctor. He suggests checking the propane connections for leaks before sparking up the grill.

“The first thing I would do is make the proper connection. Do a visual inspection to make sure there is no damage in the hose and you can use a soapy water solution to make sure there are no obvious leaks,” says Pitre. “Just like a bicycle tire the pressure inside is going to create a bubble with soapy water. That's an easy thing that someone can do themselves that is all about safety.”

Think safety before you fire up the grill
Think safety before you fire up the grill

Pitre says the next step is to check over the burner.

“As time goes on it's gona rust and then eventually it's going to have a hole in it or a hole gets plugged up. So a quick visual inspection to make sure it's operating the way it should is the key.”

If in doubt, Pitre says change it out, as it is better to be safe than sorry.

Many Canadians are already busy barbecuing, and will likely continue to be right through the summer months. If you haven't fired up the grill yet this season, here are some additional suggestions to be aware of:

  • Do an inspection - and use soapy water to clean any grimy spots.
  • Most burners only last one or two seasons so make sure you replace your old grill if need be.
  • Clean the ash and grease at the bottom of the barbeque.
  • Check for gas leaks and rust, and clean out the tubes that bring gas to the burner.
  • Make sure the barbeque is kept at least 1.5 metres from the house or any other material that could catch fire.
  • Keep children and pets safe from burns by keeping them away from the equipment.
  • When you're finished, shut off the grill but also the propane tank as well.

With files from Jill Colton

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