Grilling around the barbecue in the summer comes as naturally to most as does cooking on the stove. While grilling is great for creating distinct flavors and bringing family and friends together, unsafe grilling can damage property and can cause injury. According to the NFPA, an annual average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns! So, take precaution not only for yourself, but exta care if you have children or pets, before lighting up the grill. Follow these guidelines to avoid any accidents:
- Be sure to place your grill on a flat surface at least 10 feet away from any building, breezeway, or covered garage port.
- If you had your grill stored for winter, inspect your propane tank and tubing for leaks by covering it in soapy water. If there are any leaks, bubbles will form. Replace your tank or tube if you think that there may be any leaks. For more tips on safe propane grilling, click here.
- Clean your grill thoroughly to prevent fat build-up (which causes larger flames)
- Buy long-handled barbecue utensils to prevent you from burning yourself when handling hot meat, veggies, or desserts.
- Avoid wearing any loose clothing while grilling to prevent it from getting caught in the flame.
- If grilling near children or pets, keep kids away from the grill by having them draw a 3-foot radius “Grill Safety Zone” around the grill in chalk – and keep them occupied by having them set the table. Be sure to keep your pets contained on the opposite side of the yard as they love licking up spills and getting into food they shouldn’t (like corn cob or meat with bones).
- Always keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
- Always ignite a grill with the top open. Click here for tips on propane grilling.
- NEVER leave the grill unattended
- If the grill does catch fire, put the lid down and turn the gas off if possible. Then get away from the grill, activate the building’s fire alarm, and call 9-1-1.
- If you’re using a charcoal grill, soak all hot coals with water, and only remove them to a stainless steel bucket if you can do so without burning yourself
- Clean the grill with a brush or rub half of an onion on the grill’s surface
- Close the grill lid and properly secure all vents
By following these steps, you should be able to maximize family safety around the grill. Always take extra precautions when grilling, because you never know what could happen when you step away from the grill for just a minute.
Do you have any tips to keep your family and pets safe around the grill? Leave them in the comments below!