Barbecue season is now in full swing, and burgers, hot dogs and steaks are calling your name (and grilled vegetables are, too). If you live in a rental apartment, no need not fret – grilling is still an option for you, whether your building supplies a communal BBQ or you have your own on your balcony. Before you grab those tongs, however, you need to be aware of a few safety rules put in place by both your building management and your city. Read on before you start marinating!
First Things First
Buying your own barbecue for your balcony or patio? Read your lease before spending the money. Landlords or rental apartment companies have the legal right to prohibit you from barbecuing, both for your safety and the safety of others in the building. Keep in mind that the city you live in will also have bylaws regarding barbecues on apartment balconies; you can find this information on the city’s website, generally under the emergency or fire services section.
Your apartment building’s landlord may not allow you to have your own personal barbecue, but they may supply one for the use and enjoyment of the entire building. This barbecue should be in a communal area of the property that is well ventilated and away from items that are easily combustible. Use your best judgement and common sense when using these BBQ’s – you wouldn’t want to open the grill lid only to find that the previous person did not clean it properly, so be neighbourly and keep the BBQ tidy and in good working order. If you notice anything amiss, such as propane tank that appears to be leaking, alert your landlord immediately.
If you buy your own barbecue, thoroughly read the instructions before you begin grilling. How do you hook up the tank? How can you turn off the barbecue quickly? What do you do if a large fire starts? If you don’t have one already, now is the time to purchase a fire extinguisher (and learn how to use it BEFORE you fire up that grill!). As with a communal barbecue, you need to set your grill up so that it is nowhere near items that could easily catch fire – give it room to breathe and you, in turn, can breathe easier.
Put Away the Booze
Many of us love to have friends over, fire up the BBQ and have a few beers. If you are the grill-master, it is best to save your alcohol consumption until after you’ve turned the grill off. No matter how skilled you think you may be, alcohol and barbecuing simply do not mix. Always put safety first and foremost on your list! You want to have an enjoyable summer that is free of emergency phone calls to the fire department.
Remember, you can find even more tips and information your own city’s website. Here is just some of the information provided by the City of Toronto:
• Keep children and pets far away from a hot grill, and never leave them unsupervised in the area of an ignited barbecue.
• Never use wood, charcoal briquettes, barbecue starter fluid or gasoline in conjunction with your propane or natural gas barbecue. Doing so is likely to result in a highly flammable and volatile situation that may cause extensive damage to your property, personal injury or loss of life.
• Barbecue in an open outdoor space due to ventilation and safety reasons. Keep the barbecue at least 3 metres from windows and doors.
• Keep the barbecue away from wooden fences, wooden walls, combustible overhead roofs, and from trees with low branches.
• Don’t allow an accumulation of grease to occur by keeping your grill and burners clean – this will help to minimize the chances that you will have a serious grease fire.
• Never fight a grease fire with water – this will only cause the flames to flare up. Keep loose clothing away from a hot barbecue – roll up your sleeves or cook in a short sleeved shirt. If your clothing catches on fire, quickly Stop, Drop and Roll.
• Use long handled tongs and brushes while grilling that put an extra bit of distance between you and the flames.
• Wear oven mitts and a heavy apron to protect yourself from fire while grilling.
• 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.
So be safe and considerate and have lots of Summer fun! Happy BBQ’ing 🙂
The RentSeeker.ca Team