Balcony and patio fires can be significant, whether your building has sprinklers or not. They can quickly spread to other units, and our forested neighbourhood there is also a risk of starting a larger forest fire. In 2021, there were 55 BBQ related fires in British Columbia amounting to over $23 million in property loss. Small patios or porches are especially susceptible. Below are some safety tips to help you reduce your chances of a fire on your balcony, deck or patio.
Before purchasing a BBQ, review your strata bylaws, safety plans, and rules with respect to barbecues on balconies (contact your strata manager to get a copy of these documents). Find out whether BBQs are allowed and what rules there are for their use.
If your BBQ has been sitting unused for a long time, it will need to be checked before use.
Propane, natural gas, and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors and kept well away from the building and flammable materials. BBQs produce carbon monoxide, a tasteless and odourless gas which can be deadly if inhaled.
Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat build-up from the grills and trays below.
Never leave a barbecue unattended.
Keep a fire extinguisher within reach, and know how to use it.
Ensure any appliance is CSA approved. Follow all manufacturer’s installation and use requirements.
Keep balconies and patios free of flammable and combustible materials and debris, such as gasoline, paint, oil, and garbage.
Sources & more information: Technical Safety BC, Township of Langely, Government of Canada.
Photo by Vincent Keiman on Unsplash