11 tips for outdoor cooking safety

05/17/2013 12:22 EDT | Updated 07/17/2013 05:12 EDT
Vancouver Fire and Rescue is warning backyard cooks to be careful barbecuing and grilling over the May long weekend.

Capt. Gabe Roder says Vancouver fire crews responded to about a dozen barbecue fires last year, which caused more than $95,000 in damage combined.

“There's two different types of barbecues: there are gas barbecues and there are propane barbecues,” he said. “Both of those gases are very volatile if they're not treated with respect."

Here are a few tips for staying safe while cooking outdoors:

- Inspect fuel hoses and clean grease from the barbecue.

- Make sure the hood is open while lighting the barbecue so gas doesn't pool inside.

- Don't use gasoline to get a charcoal barbecue started. Use only charcoal lighting fluid.

- Don't spray lighter fluid on hot coals.

- Never leave a lit barbecue unattended.

- Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.

- Avoid wearing loose clothing while barbecuing or grilling.

- Make sure your barbecue is at least one metre from your house or other combustible objects.

- Never move a lit barbecue.

- Make sure the gas grill is shut off and has cooled completely before covering it.

- Extinguish coals when you’re finished barbecuing. Submerge coals in a metal pail of water while using tongs and wearing oven mitts.

Source: Vancouver Fire and Rescue, Canadian Propane Association, City of Edmonton