Safety tips for outdoor activities

By Abigale Subdhan, ParentsCanada

PC_safety_tips_ext.jpgIf you're firing up your barbecue or going away for the weekend, read these tips - offered by the CSA group (an organization that tests the safety and credibility of everyday products) - to keep your family safe all summer long.

"We want families to have a good long weekend and enjoy the summer, but we also want them to stay mindful of some safety hazards," says Anthony Toderian, a representative for the CSA group.

Using gas grills and barbecues:

  • Keep things clean. Check if your grill is clean of any blockages from grease, insects or rust build-up before you fire it up. Inspect the burners and burner tubes. Clean or replace any blocked parts.
  • Check for leaks. Rub a 50/50 solution of soap and water onto the gas hose, fittings and connections. Turn on the gas at the tank, not the burners. If there are any leaks, it will produce bubbles. Try tightening the fittings, and if that doesn't work, you should replace any damaged hoses or fittings.
  • Check your gas. Check the date stamp on the propane cylinder to see when it was last qualified. These cylinders must be inspected and requalified every 10 years. Also, avoid using a rusty or damaged cylinder.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Keep grills and barbecues away from combustible materials like fences, trees and buildings.
  • Always buy certified. Look for a seal of approval from a credible certification agency when buying a grill or a barbecue. The mark indicates that the product meets national standards.
  • Be mindful of kids. Educate your children about possible hazards when operating hot equipment.

Camping stoves and lanterns:

  • Keep a safe distance from the tent. Camping equipment like lanterns, stoves and outdoor cookers should be lit at least three metres away from the tent or any vehicles. Never light a stove or lantern inside a tent or a vehicle.
  • Use in open spaces. Only use lanterns or stoves in a well-ventilated area.
  • Stay away from the flame. Keep kids and pets away from the flame. Wait for the equipment to cool before you pack it away. Don't wear loose, flammable clothing when using any fuel-burning equipment.

Boats and cottages:

  • Stay boat smart. Wear a life jacket or some type of flotation device when using a boat.
  • Check your alarms. Test the carbon monoxide and smoke alarms in your cottage or boat to see whether they've been properly installed.
  • Check for pests. The first time you go to your cottage for the summer, inspect all your appliances for damage from rodents and insects.
  • Be prepared. Keep your boats and cottages stocked up with safety equipment, such as first aid kits and fire extinguishers, in case of an emergency.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, May 2012.

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