Summer officially marks the beginning of grilling season. Many people dust off their grills and begin block parties that last through the end of September. While this is a fun and exciting time, it is important to stay safe. Over 7,000 Americans are injured each year by incorrect grill usage. Take the time to make sure you are using your equipment the proper way and have the best backyard experience.
- Keep grills at least 10 feet away from your home. This includes garages, carports, decks, and any wooden overhangs. This rule applies to gas and charcoal grills. Make sure that children and animals are always far away from the grilling area.
- Ensure that you clean your grill on a regular basis. Any buildup of grease and fat provides fuel for an out of control fire.
- When starting a charcoal grill, make sure to only use charcoal lighter fluid. Do not add any additional materials to start a fire because this could lead to a bigger fire than you intended.
- Check for gas leaks on a regular basis. You can check for any leaks by creating a half soap and half water mixture and rubbing it along the hoses and connectors. Turn the gas on, with the lid open, and if large bubbles form it will indicate that you have a leak. This is vital to maintain because it could potentially lead to a fire or explosion.
- Keep all decorations away from the grill. This includes any baskets or hanging flowers. These items are at risk of catching fire.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close and make sure you know how to use it. You never know when an accident could take place and it is better to be prepared. If a fire cannot be handled within 1 minute, make sure you call 911. Most deaths or serious injuries occur because people attempt to take on the fire by themselves.
- Check your clothing before using the grill. Make sure there are no strings or sleeves that could potentially catch fire.
- Use long metal utensils to prevent burns while flipping and moving your food.
- Never turn on the gas while the lid to your grill is closed. When the fire is ignited, it could potentially form a fireball once the lid is opened.
- Ensure that your grill is never left unattended. A fire can double in size every minute and this time is precious for preventing a disaster. Even when you’re done cooking, make sure the gas grill is completely turned off. For a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are completely out before discarding them.
- Attempt to keep your grill from being overloaded. If too many fatty meats are placed together it could cause a flare up and light nearby objects on fire.
- Never attempt to use a grill inside. The fire alarm will not always sound but the release of carbon monoxide is very dangerous in an enclosed area.
Grilling is one of the best parts of summer but make sure you are doing it safely. It will only be an enjoyable experience if everyone stays safe.