Grill safely in your backyard

By Meaghan Archer

The smell of charcoal, veggies, and meats on the grill is a quintessential element of summer—and one that you don’t want to mess around with when it comes to both taste and safety. Luckily, AMA is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the latter—we’re still working on our grilling skills.  

Understanding your equipment 

Read over the users’ manual and familiarize yourself with the settings of your grill before you toss your steaks on. Make sure the grill is clean and there’s no excess grease—a well-known fire instigator. Follow the recommended temperature for your recipes and set a timer for your food to ensure you don’t burn it—something everyone will be thankful for.  

Take it outside 

BBQs and grills should always be used outside and on a flat surface. Keep them at least three metres from your house and away from tents, garages, overhangs, eaves and branches.  

Locate nearby hazards 

Just because you’re in your own backyard doesn’t mean there aren’t fire hazards around. Grills are often stored outside or in garages or sheds, which leave them covered in cobwebs and dust. Make sure to give them a regular wipe-down to keep them clean and the spiders out of your burgers. And always keep kids and pets away from the grill.  

Check local fire bans  

If you’re thinking about setting up a picnic and grill, whether at home or at a local park, check local and provincial fire bans first. During wildfire season, outdoor grills on city property are often banned, as is bringing your own grill to the park. Double check on city or provincial websites before you trek all your supplies out to the park.  

Double check 

Always double check you’ve turned off your grill when you’re done using it—even if that means going back a third time to quiet the voice in your head questioning if you really turned it off. Let the BBQ fully cool before you store it away. If using coals, let them cool off completely before storing them in a metal container, and never use water to help cool faster as it can splash and cause burns. If you use a propane tank, make sure it’s sealed tightly to avoid a leak. If using a charcoal BBQ, store all lighting fluid in a safe place, away from kids and heat, and only use approved BBQ starter fluid or briquettes.  

To go the extra mile with fire safety, check out these tips to keep your home safe.