It’s time to bust out the barbecue to enjoy some tasty meals with friends and family. Grilling is a summer tradition, but safety is always an issue when you’re dealing with fire.
Here are 7 grilling tips that will keep you and your possessions safe throughout the sunny months to come.
Check Your Equipment
This might seem like common sense, but statistics don’t support it. The U.S. Fire Administration reports over 5,700 grill fires every year, and some cause substantial damage, injuries, or death. The number one reason for these fires is malfunction due to neglect.
You may have covered your grill over the winter, but this doesn’t mean that parts won’t deteriorate. Gas hoses can dry out and crack, leading to dangerous leaks. Insects, dust, and debris can block the gas valve that leads to the burners. Parts can crack and hoses can shift. Give your grill a thorough once over, before you set fire to it.
Position Your Grill Safely
Always ensure your barbecue sits on a level surface outside. Don’t ever grill indoors, because grilling emits carbon monoxide.
Keep the grill away from deck furniture, walls, children and pets. If necessary, put up a barrier so the little ones can’t touch the grill as they can be severely burned.
Light The Grill Properly
If you’re using charcoal, make sure that you use a proper starter fluid or charcoal chimney. Don’t substitute gasoline or white gas, because they are highly explosive. Use a long handled match or lighter to ignite the fluid. Lighting a grill with a short cigarette lighter puts you at risk for burns. Once the grill has lit, don’t add more lighter fluid as this could cause unexpected flare ups. You should also use a long handled match or lighter to ignite a gas grill if your grill doesn’t have an electronic ignition.
And don’t forget, barbecue aprons aren’t just for protecting your clothes – they protect you from grease burns or accidental brushes against the grill. It’s also important to make sure that you’re using proper grilling utensils because they typically have long handles to keep you safely away from the fire.
Don’t Leave Food Unattended
Fatty foods can cause flare-ups and a grease fire can escalate quickly. Stay by the grill and move food away from flares. Remember: watched food doesn’t burn.
Make sure that you don’t spray any flare ups with water. Grease and water do not mix and it can cause grease to splatter. If you keep your grill clean, you’re less likely to have flare-ups.
Ensure That You Turn Off The Gas
When you turn the knob on the grill to finish cooking, turn off the gas to the tank too. Tighten the valve so that a child cannot undo it easily. The National Fire Protection states 70 percent of all house fires are fueled by propane.
If you fuel your grill directly from your home’s propane or natural gas line, you’ll also have a shut off valve. Don’t leave it open. If you have a slow leak it could lead to an explosion.
Clean & Cover After Use
Many people think that the grill burns off food residue and they don’t need to clean it. However, greasy foods such as chicken with the skin, sausages, and marinades on meat accumulate. Buy a wire brush and give the rack a scrub while it’s still hot. Clean up any messes on shelves or the lid once the grill completely cools.
Also invest in a cover. It protects your investment and prevents insects and dirt from entering the BBQ mechanisms.
Have A Fire Extinguisher On-Hand
You should have a class B rated extinguisher nearby when burning propane or natural gas during grilling season. Of course, no one thinks they’ll have a grill fire, but better safe than sorry.
In Rhode Island, homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover fire damage to your property and possessions, but a claim could increase your premium. It’s always preferable to prevent accidents, so follow these tips and enjoy a safe grilling season.