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May 21, 2008
Fire up Your Barbecues … Safely!
Most Toronto residents will partake in some form of backyard barbecuing this summer, and Toronto Fire Chief Bill Stewart is emphasizing ‘safety’ while grilling.

“Barbecuing is certainly a highlight of the summer,” emphasized Chief Stewart, “however, keeping you and your family safe from fire should be your first priority.” Here are a few easy tips to help get you off to a good start:

1. Before you begin, is your propane or natural gas barbecue clean? Wash all dirt and debris from your barbecue, including cobwebs and dust that have built up over the winter, particularly in the venturi tubes. Remove your grates and lava rocks and clean them in warm soapy water. Replace defective parts. Ensure that the barbecue hose is free of cracks or holes. Rusty and damaged propane cylinders or cylinders over 10 years of age should be replaced. Call a certified fuel appliance repair person if you do not feel comfortable making safety checks yourself.

2. Secure your propane cylinder properly before opening the tank. Check for leakages prior to lighting your barbecue. If your barbecue connection has an “ O” ring, check it for fractures and cracks every time you replace your cylinder.

3. Open the lid before igniting. Turn the propane cylinder valve to the open position, and then open the individual grill controls. Light the barbecue by pressing the igniter button. If your barbecue does not have an igniter button, use a long match or lighter into the side burner hole - always have the match or lighter lit before you turn on the grill controls. Once ignited, check for a consistent and even flame and make sure that all burner holes are free of debris.

4. Keep children and pets far away from a hot grill, and never leave them unsupervised in the area of an ignited barbecue.

5. Barbecue outside only. Keep the barbecue three metres from windows and doors and away from wooden fences, walls, combustible overhead roofs, and from trees with low hanging branches.

6. Get rid of all grease from the grills and barbecue base - to minimize the chances that you will have a serious grease fire.

7. Keep your distance from the flames by using long handled tongs and flippers. Wear oven mitts and a heavy apron to protect your skin from fire. If you do burn yourself, run the affected area under cool water for five minutes. If your burn is serious (charring, blistering) seek medical attention right away.

For more information on fireworks, visit our website at:

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Toronto Fire Services Media Line (416) 338-0763



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