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Staying safe on Canada Day: Barbecues, fireworks, and physical distancing

Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate! While this Canada Day is going to look a little different for many of us, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of our favourite summer activities and enjoy them safely.

Avoid a barbecue fire

Person in an apron with a spatula at a bbqAs someone who is not the most gifted griller, I can confidently say it’s pretty easy for a barbecue to catch fire. But the thing is, there is a risk regardless of your skill level. Here are some tips for staying safe, according to Health Canada:  

When setting up a barbecue, make sure it is:
  • Outside in a well-ventilated area – never use a barbecue indoors.
  • Far away from combustible materials, like trees, play structures, outdoor furniture, etc.
  • On an even surface to reduce the risk of tipping over.

If you haven’t used your barbecue in a long time, it is important to check it before use. Look for:
  • Blocked burners or metal tubes near the burners.
  • Damaged or leaking fittings and hoses.
  • Replace cracked or damaged hoses even if they are not leaking.
  • A damaged seal – check the seal when you get your barbecue tank refilled and check for leaks. after reinstalling.
  • If you don’t feel confident about checking your barbecue, have a professional inspect it.

Finally, check to make sure the barbecue and burners are clean and that there isn’t a build up of grease.

When you’re grilling, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. And remember to:
  • If the barbecue does not light right away turn off the gas and wait for it to clear before attempting to light it again.
  • Inspect your barbecue brush and grill before each use. Avoid the use of a brush with loose bristles.
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended.
  • Use long-handled cooking utensils and heat-resistant mitts to reduce the risk of burns.
When you’re all done:
  • Shut off the gas valve.
  • Let the gas remaining in the connecting hose burn off.
  • Close your burner controls.
  • If you’re using a charcoal barbecue, make sure the charcoal has cooled completely before getting rid of it – this can take several hours.
  • Clean your barbecue often, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Now that everyone is fed, it’s time for the fireworks! If you are setting off your own fireworks it is incredibly important to be safe. Here are some tips from Natural Resources Canada:
  • Make sure to follow the laws and rules in your area. Only adults should handle fireworks.
  • Always purchase fireworks from reliable sources that sell products meeting safety standards.
  • Read the instructions, even if it seems obvious. There will be safety information about how far anyone watching should be when the firework is set off.
  • Do not handle fireworks if you’re impaired.
  • Check conditions – do not light fireworks when it is windy.
  • Set up your fireworks in a clear, open space. Follow directions for the safest distance for spectators.
  • Set fireworks at a 10-degree angle, pointing away from people.
  • Have a plan for the order you will be setting off fireworks
  • Be prepared with a bucket of sand, water, and a working fire extinguisher.
  • Wear protective goggles, gloves, and keep hair and clothing clear while you light fireworks. Light them at arm’s reach and then stand back.
  • If a firework is a dud, don’t attempt to relight it. Wait at least 30 minutes until you approach a lit firework that didn’t go off.  
  • Do not hold lit fireworks
  • When you’re done, dispose of fireworks properly. Sparklers should go in a bucket of sand until they cool down – they stay hot for a while. Use a hose or bucket of water to soak used fireworks – wait 30 minutes after lighting any duds before soaking them or use a hose. Do not soak used fireworks in a lake or other natural body of water.
Finally, we know this summer is different. With COVID-19, our Canada Day plan may have changed. Even as regions begin to open up a little more it is very important to follow the rules for where you live for gathering. No matter where you live, there are tips that are always useful:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, if proper handwashing facilities are not available use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid large gatherings of people.
  • If you aren’t feeling well, stay home.
Even though this one is different, we hope everyone can enjoy their Canada Day safely!
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