photo: Vgajic/iStock

How to (Safely) Host a Backyard Barbecue

By AMA Staff

The patio lanterns are strung and the barbecue’s set to sizzle—but are you really ready for that summer shindig? As host, it’s your job to make sure guests have a good time, but you’re also responsible for their wellbeing. Here are some tips on how to prepare for safer al fresco entertaining this summer:

LIGHT THE NIGHT
Create overlapping pools of illumination so guests can see where they’re going, especially on stairs. Add ground-level lighting along paths and other walking areas.

FEED WITH CARE
Find out about guests’ allergies and dietary issues in advance, and try to serve dishes without these items. Label communal food with ingredients as a courtesy. If possible, have someone on hand with first aid training.

MORE TO READ
How to enhance the outdoor spaces at your home

MAKE REPAIRS
A few weeks before the party, take a hard look at the condition of your patio. Fix cracks and uneven areas, and make sure railings and gates are securely fastened. Wooden deck boards are susceptible to water damage and splintering. Hire a contractor if major repairs are needed.

TIDY WALKWAYS AND ENTERTAINING AREAS
Remove tripping hazards such as cords and toys. Tuck away valuables and breakable items behind locked doors, and mark off-limits areas with signs.

MONITOR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
Ensure your guests will be safe after you send them on their way. Learn how they’re getting home, and organize taxis or alternative means of transportation if necessary. Never, ever let guests drive home impaired. There are a number of designated-driver programs in Alberta to help your friends depart your party safely.

MORE TO READ
What you need to know about organizing a block party in your Alberta neighbourhood

OFFER AMPLE SEATING AND SHADE
Set up covered nooks, with comfortable chairs and chaises, where people can relax—especially elderly guests and others who need rest.

SECURE HEAT SOURCES
Set up barbecues, firepits and other heat sources where nobody will bump into them—or singe something. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If you’re allowing guests to smoke, provide ashtrays and dispose of butts safely.

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
You may have planned every detail of your perfect big event—but accidents can still happen. The last thing you want is to be on the hook if you’re found legally responsible for damages or injuries sustained at your banquet, wedding, concert, reunion or golf tournament. AMA offers event liability insurance of up to $5 million that can be customized to suit your event’s needs, including host liquor liability, medical expense coverage and more.