Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!
Just like hamburgers and hot dogs a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.
Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.
There’s good news, though: you can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers – and not your house – the next time you fire up the grill.
Tips for All Grills
- Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).
- NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.
- Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
- Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.
Charcoal Grill Tips
- Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
- Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
- Use flame – retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.
- To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or a bucket of water.
Gas Grill Tips
From the National Fire Protection Association
- Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
- Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
- Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.
From all of us at Insurance Advisors, Inc. happy grilling and stay safe this summer!
Every year dozens of people are injured and hundreds of fires are reported because of grilling accidents. With the popularity of outdoor cooking, the problem promises to get worse before it gets better.
The leading cause of injuries and fire from gas grills is leaking fuel lines. Improperly connected hoses, cracked or broken hoses, misaligned venturi tubes can release unlit propane that can quickly build up and cause an explosion. Modern gas grills are vented to prevent gases from building up inside cabinets so a slow leak doesn’t pose much of a danger, but turning off the gas at the source (the propane tank) is always the safest strategy.
When it comes to out-of-control gas grill fires, identify the source of the fire. If the fire is the grill itself then carefully turn off the control knobs and let the fire die down.
If the fire is under the grill and you can get to the fuel tank, turn off the tank. This should kill the fire almost immediately. If it does not, or if you cannot get to the tank valve, get away from the grill and call the fire department.
Charcoal presents its own risk due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Burning charcoal produces a lot of this gas. There were over 20 deaths in the US last year alone from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with charcoal grilling.
The leading cause of injury related to the use of lighter fluids, is attempting to relight charcoal. Pouring lighter fluid onto hot coals causes the fluid to quickly vaporize. These vapors can be extremely flammable. Without a strong wind the explosive vapors will not dissipate and will wait around for you to light the match.
Everything has risks. Knowing what those risks are and how to reduce them is key. When cooking outdoors, whether hot and fast grilling, or low and slow barbecue, there are a few things you need to know to make sure nothing goes wrong and how to get the most out of your cooking. There is more to outdoor cooking safety than just fire…continued in next week’s blog.