5 Fire Safety Tips for Balcony Barbecuing

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5 Fire Safety Tips for Balcony Barbecuing

Staff Writer · Oct 14, 2009

You can enjoy the wonders of barbecue cooking right on your balcony if you follow basic fire safety tips. A simple accident can cause major damage to your own apartment and to your neighbor’s. Before you start, review these 5 tips for safe barbecuing:

1. Don’t Use Propane

There are many choices for grills, but a propane barbecue grill is not an option for you if you’ll grilling on a balcony. The risk of explosion is so high, that it may even be illegal to use one on your balcony, depending on what state you live in. If you had one in your old home or in storage, sell it or leave it in storage. Instead, buy a charcoal barbecue grill and use it on the balcony if you have easy access to a hose to put out any fires. You also have to make sure that the grill is far enough away from the walls of the apartment building. At least ten feet away is a good standard to shoot for.

2. Use Dry Coals

It’s important to store your charcoal in tightly sealed containers. If you don’t, they could get wet, especially if you store them on your balcony. Wet coals can combust and start a fire. If the coals are wet, replace them with new ones. Don’t risk trying to dry them yourselves because you may not properly dry them.

3. Get Rid of Coals and Ashes Properly

People tend to forget that hot coals will fire up if not properly disposed of. You should pour a lot of water on them first, and then roll them around a bit. If you don’t see fire, then you know you’ve properly disposed of the coals. If you don’t take this precaution, you could start a fire when you leave your balcony.You can put ashes in a metal bucket and pour water over them to make sure that the fire is out completely.

4. Know How to Use Lighter Fluid

Some fires can start from careless use of lighter fluid. A common mistake is to keep pouring lighter fluid on the grill once it’s lit. This can cause an explosion in the fluid can, due to a reaction in the container. Take time to stoke a fire by adjusting the settings on your grill as you build up your fire, rather that dousing more lighter fluid on the coals. This will keep you safe from injuries due to an unexpected explosion.

5. Wear Appropriate Clothing

One simple fire safety tip to think about before you start barbecue grilling is the clothes you’ll wear. If your clothing is too loose, it could accidentally catch on fire. You can get distracted if you’re entertaining guests, or turn to put your barbeque on a plate and easily catch your sleeves on fire before you know it. Having water and a fire extinguisher handy helps, but you can avoid this in the first place by wearing neatly fit clothing.

Barbecues are a great way to entertain friends and family. You don’t have to miss out if all you have is a balcony, if you follow these basic fire safety tips.

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