Outdoor grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook food, but it can also be a fire hazard. Learn how to reduce the risk by following the safety tips listed below.
- Alberta's Office of the Fire Commissioner shares tips for safe grilling.
- The grill should be placed away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least 1 m away from the grill area.
Use, cleaning and maintenance
- BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup.
- ESPN anchor Hannah Storm tells NFPA about the accident that left her with severe burns all over her body.
Propane and natural gas BBQ
- When using your BBQ for the first time each year, check the gas supply-hose from the cylinder or outlet for leaks.
- Apply a soapy-water solution to the hose with the supply turned on and appliance valves off. Bubbles will form in areas along the hose where there is a leak.
- If there is a leak, turn off your BBQ and have it serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately turn off the control and supply valve. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for leaks and relighting.
- If the smell of gas remains, step away from the grill, clear people away from the area and call the fire department. Do not move the BBQ.
- If the flame goes out while cooking, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before lighting it again.
- Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.
- Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Guy Colonna, NFPA Division Manager, Industrial ＆ Chemical Engineering, gives some basic tips on how to prepare your grill before your first cookout of the season.
Firepits and outdoor burning
It’s important to always check with your municipality on firepit and BBQ regulations as they can vary across the province.
- Get a permit from your municipality before starting any outdoor cooking fire. You might not be permitted to do outdoor burning in some municipalities and during some seasons.
- Supervise all outdoor fires. Make sure the fire is out before leaving.
- Supervise children around any outdoor fires, including campfires, firepits, chimneys and outdoor fireplaces.
- Avoid burning on windy, dry days. These conditions can cause open burning to spread out of control.
- Where outdoor burning is allowed, never use flammable or combustible liquids.
- When burning, have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to extinguish the fire.
- Permitted open fires, such as bonfires or trash fires, need to be at least 15 m from anything that can burn.
- Permitted recreational fires such as campfires, need to be at least 8 m from anything that can burn.
Download our poster and graphics to share online and in your community to encourage BBQ and firepit safety
- BBQ and firepit safety – Marketing images (ZIP, 16 MB)