Is Your BBQ Safe?

Propane burst has one family reaching out so it doesn’t happen to you.

Cassandra Newton, her husband Greg and their two young children had quite the scare on Sunday evening. Her husband Greg was BBQ’ing on their new BBQ when suddenly flames shot up wildly, burning him. Greg acted quick and was able to turn off the propane and put out the blaze.

When the fire fighters arrived, it was discovered the line from the propane tank to the BBQ had blown. Luckily, Greg, escaped with only minor burns and no other family members were injured.

“Our BBQ is new. We bought it on May 23 of this year. And the propane line blew a hole during use!” Cassandra is as shocked as any. From talking with the fire crew, she learned that BBQs should be at least 10 feet from the home. “The propane line blew a hole during use! Greg received minor burns and managed to get the tank shut off so there was no risk of explosion but this could have been a very bad night.”

Cold Lake Fire Rescue Chief and Director of Emergency Management, Jeff Fallow says the squad had responded to a few near-misses this year, as well as, a few cases of people BBQ’ing too close to the home and melting their siding.

Included are some propane BBQ tips from Cold Lake Fire Rescue:


Backyard meals on the barbecue are just one of Canada’s summertime passions. Propane is an efficient, economical and popular source of fuel for most outdoor grills. It’s versatile, economical, and can be easily transported, and even though propane is generally considered safe, it needs to be handled with care.

Tips for the proper use of propane barbecues

Transporting and storing propane cylinders In Canada, propane cylinders have to be replaced every 10 years, unless it is inspected and re-qualified. The date the cylinder was last qualified can be found on the collar of the tank. If your tank does not need to be replaced due to its age, remember to:

Transport cylinders in an upright position

Use a cap to cover the cylinder outlet, when transporting or storing

Never transport or store a cylinder in a passenger or living area

Store cylinders outdoors, off the ground on a fireproof base

Keep out of the reach of children

Never smoke near a propane tank

Inspect the propane cylinder and replace if rusty or damaged


Set-up and maintenance

Carefully follow the assembly instructions included with your barbecue. If you’re not sure about something, take it back to the dealer for help or call a qualified propane technician.

Make sure the burners and tubes connected to the burners are rust and debris-free, and that the burner throat, where the propane enters the burner, is free of dust or cobwebs.

All hoses and joints should be carefully looked at to ensure there are no leaks where gas can escape. Leaks, if ignited can send out huge flames.

Never check for leaks with an open flame.

Remove lava rocks and grates to clean.

Clean the grill and burners regularly to avoid grease build-up.


Lighting the barbeque

Always open the lid before lighting so that gas does not build up.

Open the cylinder valve first, then the burner. Immediately use the igniter switch.

If you do not have a working igniter switch, have your barbeque lighter handy when you are preparing to light the grill.

If the burner does not ignite, with the lid open, turn off the gas and wait five minutes before trying again.

When finished using the barbeque, close the propane cylinder first followed by the burner controls. This way, propane does not get trapped in the hose when the grill is not in use.


Everyday use

Use gas grills outdoors only. Even grilling in the garage with the door open does not allow for enough ventilation.

Position your barbeque at least three metres away from windows, doors, wooden fences and walls, and branches.

Never use lighter fluid, gasoline or other accelerants on the grill.

Keep children and pets away from the barbeque especially when in use.

Keep loose clothing away from a hot barbecue.

Use long-handled tongs and brushes while grilling. It puts you at a safer distance away from the flames.

Never move a lit barbeque.

Make sure the barbeque is turned off, and completely cooled before covering.