Barbecue Safety – tips for the wise

Barbecue Safety Tips

“KELOWNA – A balcony barbeque is to blame for a blaze that ripped through a Rutland apartment building Tuesday afternoon, according to fire officials.” Lauren Pullen Global News, July 17, 2013

Following that disastrous 2013 fire, many strata councils in multi-family dwellings revised their bylaws to prohibit BBQs on balconies.

Some municipalities like the City of North Vancouver updated their fire regulations to restrict balcony barbecues to CSA/UL approved propane or natural gas devices – no briquettes.

We at ProGas enjoy relaxing summer evenings and know how it feels to have that shiny new barbecue on your patio. So we hope the following reminders will keep you, your family, friends and pets safe every time you light it up:

The DOs

  2. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS: Although we recommend either natural gas or propane over emissions-heavy briquettes, whatever the fuel it is essential to read the manufacturer’s instructions for your BBQ…and to re-read them every year before your first BBQ of the season.
  3. POSITION YOUR BBQ AWAY FROM HAZARDS: Before lighting up, make sure your BBQ is well away from flammable material. Move it 3 metres (10 feet) clear of walls, fences and overhangs – even well clear of the BBQ cover you just removed.
  4. CHECK FOR GAS LEAKS: If you smell gas after ignition, turn all taps off immediately and call 911.
  5. CLEAN THE GRILL: Even if you gave the grill a thorough clean after using it last time, give it another once-over before you light up to ensure it is free of any dust, bristles or debris that might contaminate the food.
  6. DISCARD METAL BBQ BRUSHES: Recent consumer complaints show bristles can break off and become a serious hazard if swallowed (see reference below). Instead, when the BBQ has cooled off, use a heavy-duty scouring pad and then thoroughly wipe down the grill to remove any soap or cleaning solution. Better still, to prevent food from getting stuck in the first place, try one of the new non-stick sheets that claim to keep the grill clean of food residue.
  7. FIRE SAFETY: Keep a spray bottle of water handy to squirt over small flare-ups and be sure you have an up-to-date fire extinguisher nearby in case that minor flare-up gets out of hand!


  1. INSTALLATION: Installation of natural gas BBQS is not a DIY project. They MUST be installed on a dedicated line by a certified gas professional – It’s the law!
  2. DO NOT fire up your BBQ before moving it away from the house.
  3. DO NOT close the lid on unlit gas – yes, that has happened!
  4. DO NOT leave a lit BBQ unattended – especially when kids and pets are around.


CNV Bylaw 7709, Amendment Bylaw No. 8226, Nov. 18, 2013

DNV Bylaw 7481, Page 15 (Doc. 597694)

DWV Bylaw 4366, (2004) Page 16 Para. 8.8