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Safer outdoor dining

The patio lanterns are strung and the barbecue’s set to sizzle – but are you really ready for that summer shindig? As host, it’s your job to make sure guests have a good time, but you’re also responsible for their well-being. Here are some tips on how to prepare for safer alfresco dining this summer.

Light the night

Create overlapping pools of illumination so guests can see where they’re going, especially on stairs. Add ground-level lighting along paths and other walking areas.

Feed with care

Find out about guests’ allergies and dietary issues in advance, and try to serve dishes without these items. Label communal food with ingredients as a courtesy. If possible, have someone on hand with first aid training.

Make repairs

Each spring, take a hard look at the condition of your patio. Fix cracks and uneven areas, and make sure railings and gates are securely fastened. Wooden deck boards are susceptible to water damage and splintering. If you need major repairs, hire a contractor well in advance of the festivities.

Monitor alcohol consumption

Ensure your guests will be safe after you send them on their way. Learn how they’re getting home, and organize taxis or alternative means of transport where needed. Never, ever let guests drive home impaired.

Tidy walkways and entertaining areas

Remove tripping hazards such as cords and toys. Tuck away valuables and breakable items behind locked doors, and mark any off-limits areas with signs.

Offer ample seating and shade

Set up covered nooks with comfortable chairs and chaises where people can relax – especially elderly guests and others who need rest and minimal time under the sun.

Secure heat sources

Set up barbecues, firepits and other heat sources where nobody will bump into them or singe something. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If you’re allowing guests to smoke, provide ashtrays and dispose of butts safely.


For more tips on hosting fun, safe summer parties, take the “what kind of host are you?” quiz in the summer 2018 edition of BCAA Magazine.