Warmer weather is here and that means it’s time to get grilling! While breaking out the grill generally means a good time is to be had, it’s important to follow certain safety tips to make sure your delicious meal doesn’t become a fire hazard. Remember, from 2013 –2017 outdoor grilling caused an annual average of 10,200 home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association. Luckily, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself and your family.
First of all, lighter fluid: don’t use it. You may be tempted to start a charcoal fire with any old lighter fluid but you should only use charcoal lighter fluid in very small amounts to start your fire. Consider using a charcoal chimney starter instead because it uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid. You’ll even get a better taste from your food that way.
Next, make sure your grill is outside! You’d be surprised but some people think it’s ok to grill in a garage when the weather is bad, but don’t do it. You’ll end up with carbon monoxide poisoning and you will wind up with people going to the emergency room instead of having a good time in the yard.
Additionally, never leave a grill unattended. A grilling fire can start quickly, especially when grilling fatty meats. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby and keep your grill clean; accumulations on the grate can add to the fire risk. Use soap and water to remove grease and fat buildup and make sure you clean the grill grates at least once a month, depending on how heavy your usage is. Moreover, if your gas flame goes out turn it off and wait at least five minutes before turning on the gas again to reduce the risk of a fire.
Finally, and most obvious, don’t forget you’re working with a hot grill! Both charcoal and gas grills get extremely hot, particularly the grill lid. Don’t leave anything plastic anywhere near your grill (think a package of hot dog buns!) and be careful not to touch hot surfaces with bare hands.
By following these tips you’ll ensure not only that your barbecue stays safe, but that there won’t be any need to call the fire department or your insurance company when it’s over.