Backyard Summer Safety: Grilling
After the long winter, it’s perfect weather for grilling in the backyard! But in order to enjoy the summer, and many more to come,be sure to grill safely. US fire departments respond to thousands of home fires each year due to barbeque and/or grilling accidents. But by using some of the following tips, you can avoid damage and injuries that can result from grilling.
The leading cause of BBQ fires is charcoal grills being too close to the home and in close proximity to items likely to catch fire, such as low-hanging branches or a wooden deck rail. Keep charcoal grills at least 10 feet from any combustibles. And don’t store a charcoal grill indoors after use if it still holds freshly used coals. Charcoal emits poisonous carbon monoxide until it has been completely cooled. To extinguish charcoal properly, breakup the embers with a long grilling tool, then cover the grill with a lid to deprive the flames from oxygen for half an hour. If embers still seem hot/active, you can slowly spray with water.
Gas grills should be kept at least 3 feet from the house and with a three foot clearing around the grill. Be sure to check your grill for hose leaks, blockages, and holes by applying a soapy solution and looking for an areas that are bubbling. Use the grill in a well-ventilated area and never leave the grill unattended while it is in use. Always use or store cylinders in an upright, vertical position and store outdoors away from sources of ignition. Be sure the burners are turned off and keep the cylinder valve closed when the grill is not being used. Before covering the grill check to make sure it is off and completely cool.
In the event of a fire, preparation is key. Equip your home with at least one fire extinguisher, have it on hand and review the instructions so you’ll know what to do in the event of an emergency. Extinguishers can be purchased at Walmart for as little as $20.
For more information, see the National Fire Protection Association’s Grill Fires Fact Sheet.