Grilling outdoors is a highly anticipated activity during the summer months. It brings the whole community together. Unfortunately, on average, over 10,600 home fires are caused by barbecues, hibachis, and grills as per the National Fire Protection Association. About 19,700 patients need to visit the emergency room for grilling-related incidents, including burns.
In order to keep your family and home safe, here are a few useful grill safety tips to keep in mind before you get that outdoor barbecue all set up.
Never Use Gas or Charcoal Grills Indoors
Gas and charcoal grills are not meant for indoor use. Both a gas grill and a charcoal grill give off a lot of carbon monoxide and smoke when in use and need open air. You are risking your and your family’s lives by bringing an outdoor grill indoors.
You should instead use a grill meant for indoors if you are worried about a sudden summer shower or heatwave. For instance, there are several electric grills that can be used indoors as well as on patios. The bottom line is that you should never grill indoors without the appropriate equipment.
Set Up the Grill Away from Your Home
Homes and decks are not fire-proof. They can quickly catch fire if a spark lands on something. To avoid this, you should keep your grill far away from your home. You don’t want the grill’s flare-up to turn into a house fire.
Never place your grill near trees or overhanging branches. Branches that are too close may catch fire in the dry summer season. You should make sure to remove any potted plants and decorations from the place where you are setting up the grilling station as well. And never leave a grill unattended. In the summer months, everything has the potential to catch on fire.
Minimize Grill Flare-Ups
One of the most important grilling safety tips is to learn how to minimize flare-ups. Showing off your skills as an expert griller is one thing, but putting your friends and family at risk of gas grill fires is something you don’t want to do. There are many safety tips that can reduce flare-ups in a grill. In fact, these bursts of flame are not good for the food at all.
Leaving charred remains on the grill grates will cause the food from the next grilling session to lack flavor. A major reason for flare-ups is food chunks falling down the grill grates onto hot coals or flames. Enough buildup can cause really big flare-ups so be sure to scrape the grates clean after each use.
Many rookie grillers make the classic mistake of using too much lighter fluid. This makes the food taste horrible, and again adds to the risk of flare-ups and fire hazards. Your end goal should be to avoid large mushroom clouds of smoke.
Keep Pets and Children Away
A gas or charcoal grill should never be operated by children. In fact, you should keep your pets and children far away from the grilling area. There is a high likelihood that the pets or children may do something unknowingly that causes a disaster. It is best to give your kids and pets something else for entertainment while you take care of the grilling. This will help in avoiding burns and fire risks.
Keep a Close Eye on the Grill
You should never leave a lit grill unattended, even just to grab another drink or use the restroom. You can ask some other adult to keep an eye on it. Problems can occur in the blink of an eye and you want to be around to take care of it immediately.
Check for Leaks Before Firing Up the Grill
This is vital in the case of gas grills. You should check for line leaks before using the grill. In fact, you should always check for leaks after replacing the natural gas hose or propane tank. You don’t want to lose gas or propane since it is dangerous and wasteful. You can test for leaks by rubbing soapy water on the connections. You know you have a problem if it starts to bubble.
Don’t Attempt DIY Repairs
There are several items in the house that you can probably fix on your own – grills are not one of them. You should never attempt repairing the grill on your own unless you are qualified to do so and have the right tools for it. You need to remember that this is a device that produces fire and has the capacity to cause a lot of damage. Get in touch with a grill repair professional if you are not experienced in repairing grills. Don’t risk your life unnecessarily if you are not sure about what you are doing.
Call the Fire Department in Case of a Leak
You must shut down the grill and connection to the gas or propane if you smell a leak. However, if that doesn’t take care of the problem, you should immediately call the fire department. Never use a grill if you smell gas. It can be potentially dangerous as it can explode. You should seek the help of a professional if the problem persists.
Keep the Lid Open Before Turning On the Grill
Propane or gas can quickly build up inside the grill. Keeping the grill closed may cause a giant ball of fire. There is a high potential of a big flare-up when you finally get around to opening the grill. Keep the grill lid open – don’t lose your eyebrows, facial hair or life due to a careless mistake.
Place the Grill on Stable Ground
You want your grill to always be in an upright position when in use. You need to place it on stable ground to prevent it from falling over. This can cause a fire and also ruin your food and probably the evening. Use patio blocks to keep the grill stable if using it on grass.
Be Fire Ready
You should be prepared to tackle a fire if it breaks out, whether you are using indoor or outdoor grills or portable grills. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby. You should also know how to use it so that there is no time lost fumbling when there is a fire. Baking soda is helpful in case of small fires as well.
Read the Owner’s Manual
Want easy tips to BBQ safely? Read the manual that comes with the grill. Every grill type and brand are different. Don’t be over-confident. You should know how to use the grill properly by reading the owner’s manual. The manual will have precautions and a safety checklist.
Shut It Down Correctly
Don’t forget to shut down the grill correctly once you are finished. You should shut off the power source whether gas or propane. You should also shut down the grill burners. Many people don’t shut down the propane or gas line thinking it wastes fuel. However, you could end up creating a fire hazard if you are not careful.
Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe
These are a few tips to prevent any accidents from happening when you have young children around:
- Place the grill away from deck railings, sidings, overhanging branches, eaves, play areas, foot traffic, and lawn games.
- Declare a 3-foot “kid-free zone” to keep your children and pets away from the hot grill area.
- Keep removing fat and grease buildup in the tray below the grill to avoid having a grease fire.
- Use lighter fluid carefully. Never add fluid if the grill is already lit. Flames can quickly flash back into the grill and explode. Keep lighter fluid out of the hot sun.
- Always keep an eye out for running children and young adults that may come too close to the grill.
- Keep an eye on any kids while grilling to ensure there are no burn injuries.
Have Any Questions? Talk to Us at VNA Health Care
Grilling is a fun way to bring family, friends, and neighbors together. Our grilling safety tips can help protect you and your family from injury and fire. However, accidents can happen at any time so be vigilant.
VNA Health Care is a dedicated organization providing affordable and efficient healthcare services in the Chicago suburbs and nearby areas. In case of any health or safety concerns or to schedule a regular appointment, you can call us at (630) 892-4355. Happy grilling!