The weather is starting to warm up in many parts of the country which means people are spending more time outdoors exercising, going to the lake, entertaining and cooking outside with their grills. Grilling is a very popular method of cooking in the spring and summer and it’s important to review safety precautions to ensure a safe and tasty cooking experience.
On average there are 8,800 house fires a year that are caused by grilling and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns. Additionally, three out of five households own a gas grill which means there is an increased risk of home fires. The peak month for grill fires is in July followed by May, June and August but they can occur any time of year if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Be sure to check out the dos and don’ts below before you fire up your grill next.
• Use a grill indoors. No matter how small the grill is, it is not safe to grill indoors. Grills release carbon monoxide which could be lethal to you and your family, roommates, or whoever you live with.
• Leave your grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute.
• Pile up food on the grill. If too much fat drips on the flames it can cause a large blaze.
• Turn on the gas while your lid is closed, ever. Gas can build up inside and could start a fire in your face upon opening the lid
• Check for gas leaks
o Inspect all the hoses on the grill for any holes or tears
o Check the exterior of the gas cylinder for dents, rust, or any other types of visible damage
o Mix equal parts of water and liquid detergent. Apply some of the solution to the closed valve at the point where it connects to the gas tank, using a soft-bristled brush or a spray bottle. Turn the gas on slowly. If bubbles appear in the solution, you may have a gas leak. Tighten the tank’s connections and repeat the test.
• Keep a spray bottle filled with water or a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it just in case the fire gets out of hand. If a fire does become out of hand be sure to call 911 for help.
• Keep pets and children away from the grill when in use
o Aim for a three foot zone around the grill
o Keep the grill at least 10 feet away from the house altogether
• Be sure to keep your grill clean regularly by removing grease or any other buildup from the grills and below the grill
• Place the coals from your grill in a metal can with a lid once they have cooled
• Open your gas grill before lighting
• Keep the grill away from any low hanging branches, hanging baskets, or anything else that’s dangling nearby
o Do keep it away from any siding or deck rails as well