05/17/2013 12:22 EDT | Updated 07/17/2013 05:12 EDT

11 tips for outdoor cooking safety

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