Local fire departments around the country respond to an average of 8,200 residences annually for fires involving grills, hibachis and barbecues. Every year those fires cause approximately 15 deaths, 120 injuries and $75 million in property damage. Don’t let a favorite summer tradition become a day of regret for all in attendance!
Maintain your grill for safety: Gas grills are about 83% more likely to be involved in a home fire. That is in part due to the amount of heat they generate and the fact that they are more commonly used versus charcoal grills.
Before ever using your grill be sure to read the owners manual which will likely provide you with a lot of good safety advice.
For those of you dusting off the grill after a long dormant winter, be sure your grill is clean of all debris. Insects and rodents may have made a home of your grill over the winter and in the process may have obstructed or altered the flow of gas. Make sure all grease and debris is clear before attempting to start your grill for the first cookout of the season.
Make sure none of your gas line connections are leaking; to do that simply brush or spray soapy water on the connections and look to make sure there is no bubbling at any of the connections.
For charcoal grills it is important that you make sure the body of the grill is sturdy enough to contain the charcoal briquettes. If the grill has not been properly cleaned at the end of the previous season or if it was not stored appropriately rust and corrosion may have compromised the grills safety.
Safely position and operate your grill: Make sure your grill is positioned on a flat surface and at least 10 feet away from your home, garage, shed, fence or overhanging tree branches. Also know that you should never use a grill on a porch or under a tent or under any structure with a roof.
Be sure to open your gas grill lid before you light it. If you’re using a charcoal grill, let lighter fluid soak into briquettes a few minutes before lighting them so that any explosive vapors have time to evaporate. If you’re storing extra charcoal be sure to keep it in a metal container tight fitting lid to keep it dry; wet charcoal can spontaneously combust and start a fire.
Don’t leave any grill unattended. Fires can occur in a matter of seconds and under ideal circumstances grills can reach temperatures in excess of 600 degrees. Grills come in all different shapes and colors & their shiny enamel finish is often attractive to small children. Approximately 10,000 people every year go to the emergency room to treat for grill related thermal burns. Of these 10,000 almost one quarter on them are children under five.
Lastly, make sure you never move your grill or dispose of ashes until the grill is completely cooled.
These modest precautions can insure that your BBQ season is a safe and happy one!