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REPORTED FIRE TURNS OUT TO BE LARGE BONFIRE

A call about a potential wildfire turned out to be nothing more than a very large bonfire in Brazeau County last week.

The Drayton Valley/Brazeau County Fire Services were called out around 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 3 for the report of a fire at the end of Twp. Road 494. When crews arrived they found the fire was a large bonfire that had been started at the location. It was extinguished by firefighters.

That call was one of only three received between July 30 and Aug. 6.

On Aug. 1 two members of the of the fire services attended to a local seniors facility at the request of EMS to assist them with a patient.

Then, on Aug. 4, an alarm call was received from a residence in Drayton Valley. The alarm turned out to be the result of cooking.

GRILLING GUIDELINES

On any given night during the summer months the air is full of the smell of residents grilling up dinner on the barbecue. The results are often delicious, but barbecuing can come with its own set of risks for those not looking out for their safety.

Last week Drayton Valley/Brazeau County Fire Services Fire Chief Tom Thomson said a study done in 2013 showed that 80 per cent of all households in Canada had a barbecue and 97 per cent of those used them on a regular basis.

The majority of those tend to favour gas or propane barbecues as opposed to a charcoal barbecue, revealed the study.

Although there haven’t been any fatalities reported as the result of barbecue use in recent years, there are people injured every year while at the grill, mostly with burns or lacerations.

Thomson said there are safety tips that residents should follow right from the beginning of the process until after you’ve the grilled delicacies are consumed.

It’s important to note that propane tanks need to be replaced every 10 years. If you’re particularly attached to your tank, at the 10-year mark it needs to be inspected by a certified inspector to make sure it’s still usable. If they sign off on it, you will be good for another decade.

When taking your tank to get refuelled it should always be in an upright position with a cap covering the output connector. Tanks should never be transported in the passenger area of a vehicle and smokers should stay far away when they’re lighting up.

Once you get it home the tank should be stored outside and off the ground if possible. If it’s not a new tank be sure to check carefully for rust or any damage to the cylinder.

“If it has a dent, don’t use it because the container is compromised,” noted Thomson.

Before actually firing up the barbecue make sure to check all hoses and connection points for leaks or damage. The best way to check for leaks is to use a spray bottle with soap and water and look for bubbles. Never turn the propane on and then use a lighter to check for gas leaks.

Make sure your barbecue is clean and remove grease build up to lessen the chance of flare ups. The same goes for charcoal grills. It may be necessary to remove the lava rocks to completely clean the grill and if the rocks are covered in grease, they should be replaced.

Be sure your barbecue is well away from any flammable items such as siding, fencing, patio umbrellas, etc. For those using barbecues on an apartment or condominium balcony they also need to be aware of other residents above and beside them and the risk an out of hand barbecue flare up or fire poses.

You’re finally ready to fire it up. Open the lid of the barbecue before lighting to avoid a gas build up. Open the main valve on the tank before turning the dial on the barbecue to light. If you are unable to get the grill lit, shut everything off, wait 10 to 15 minutes for the gas to dissipate and then try again.

Once you’ve got the grill lit, stay put. Thomson said residents should never attempt to move a barbecue once it’s going.

When everything is cooked just so, turn off the dial and the tank before heading in to eat.

“Both should be in an off position,” said Thomson.

While digesting your meal take the time to clean the grill and be sure it’s cool before putting a barbecue cover on it.

As a final reminder Thomson said barbecues should never be used indoors.

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