Fire Safety in the Summer

August 24, 2018

Fires can happen at any time of year, but in the summer, there are extra precautions that need to be taken to help prevent unwanted and unexpected fires from starting and spreading.

BBQing is an essential part of a Canadian summer, but it is important to observe proper BBQ safety. If you live in an apartment or condo that bans BBQs, consider an electric alternative. This rule is put in place to protect neighbors living in close proximity from accidents involving propane or lighter fluid.

If you are grilling with propane, check your tank for leaks by putting soapy water on the valve. If it bubbles, you’ve got troubles! That means gas is leaking and could potentially explode when the BBQ is ignited.

Setting off fireworks? Make sure you are a safe distance from trees and buildings. Sparklers are fascinating and fun, but sparks that fall on dry grass can be dangerous. Use them over a driveway if it hasn’t rained in a while.

Planning a bonfire? Check local fire bans to ensure it is safe for you to do so. If conditions are too dry, drifting sparks could ignite the dry grass and tree branches nearby, which could spread quickly as a grass fire or even cause a forest fire. If conditions are safe and fires are permitted, it is best to keep a lot of water handy to ensure the fire is thoroughly doused. You should always douse a fire twice to make sure it hasn’t reignited.

And here is one that people rarely realize until it’s too late: aerate your compost heap. Believe it or not, decomposing matter can also cause gases to build up under layers of compost. Hot sun can cause these gases to burst into flames. Use a shovel or a rake to separate and turn the compost so the heavier older matter is on top. This will also help to speed up the process and create a nicer, more even fertilizer to spread on your garden.

As in many things in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and fire safety is no exception. However, in the event that your preventative measures weren’t enough, it’s a good idea to keep some “cure”
on hand, just in case. Every household should keep at least one fire extinguisher in an accessible location. Ensure your fire extinguisher has not passed it’s expiry date, and that the pressure valve shows that the extinguisher has enough pressure for use. Powder or chemical extinguishers need to be shaken every month to ensure the powder doesn’t settle and harden.

With these tips, you can help prevent accidental fires from happening. Stay safe and enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer!

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