Be safe during backyard barbecues

by Tom Simplot

Jan 19, 2015

It's time for pool parties and backyard barbecues — great news if you're the guest, but hosting can be trickier for apartment dwellers.

That backyard barbecue requires some extra planning when your backyard is a small patio.

Here are some things you should think about before the party begins.

If your heart is set on a true backyard barbecue, familiarize yourself with your city's specific regulations. Most Valley cities follow regulations similar to those in the Phoenix Fire Code, which states:

In multihousing units, charcoal burners, propane, and other open-flame cooking devices are prohibited on balconies, covered walkways, roof overhangs and fire escapes, or within 10 feet of combustible construction unless protected by an automatic sprinkler system. Liquefied petroleum gas or propane burners are not permitted to be operated within 10 feet of openings like sliding glass doors or windows, and are required to be located at least 20 feet away from air intakes of air conditioning and ventilation systems.

Grilling regulations vary by city and community, so do some research:

• Review local laws. Your city has unique laws and ordinances regarding the use and/or storage of grills in multihousing units. Get a copy of those regulations from your local government offices or fire department.

• Check your lease. Confirm the rules regarding outdoor cooking options with your property managers.

• Use common sense. Fires, explosions, burns and carbon monoxide poisoning are just a few things that can go wrong when grillers aren't careful. Be sure to read and follow all of the instructions provided with your grill before firing it up.

For legal and safety reasons, your best bet is probably to get a small electric grill for your patio, or reserve one of the community grills.