General Grill Safety Tips
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues occur every year, and July is the peak month for fires caused by grills. Gas grills contribute 7,900 home fires per year. Charcoal and other solid-fueled grills follow, with 1,300 home fires per year.
All this is to say, grill safety is no joke. And even though you might feel like a pro, you or others in your home might not know the proper safety precautions to take around grills.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty specifics of gas and charcoal grills, let’s first discuss some general grill safety tips that you can put into practice today.
Before you throw your hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill, here are a few things you should do to prepare:
- Don’t light the grill inside a garage or indoor space.
- Keep the grill 10 feet away from your house, fences and hanging branches.
- Make sure the barbecue is on flat ground or a stable base.
- Open the grill lid before you light it.
- Light barbecues with a long match or mechanical lighter specific to barbecues.
- Don’t wear loose clothing.
Make sure you place your grill far enough from your home and other objects that could potentially catch on fire. If you’re grilling on a particularly windy day, give your grill even more space, as sparks could travel and catch on nearby objects.
Now that you’ve properly set up and secured your grill a safe distance from your home, it’s time to get cooking. Here are some basic grill safety tips:
- Never leave a grill unattended.
- Keep children away from the grill and the grill lighter.
- Use long-handled tools and flame-retardant mitts when working with the grill.
- Be aware of the wind, which may blow sparks.
- Never use water on a grease fire; spread baking soda over the flames instead.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case a fire starts.
The best way to keep you, your family and your home safe is to never leave the grill unattended while you’re cooking. Not only could an unattended grill pose a potential danger to young children or pets, whatever you’re grilling could also potentially catch on fire. Make sure you’re always keeping an eye on the grill and have the right tools to stop a fire from spreading.
Before you gather with friends and family to enjoy the fruits of your labor, make sure you follow these safety tips after you’ve finished grilling:
- Allow the grill to cool completely before moving it.
- Clean out the inside of the grill and empty debris into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Store the lighter fluid, matches and lighters away from small children.
Your backyard barbecue doesn’t stop when everyone sits down with their plate. It’s important to clean your grill, as a buildup of residue could potentially catch on fire during your next use.
Now that we’ve discussed some basic grill safety tips, let’s specifically talk about gas and charcoal safety tips, as each grill has its own risks.
Gas Grill Safety Tips
Gas grills are pretty convenient to have around, as they tend to be easier to clean than charcoal grills and come with a variety of accessories that can often improve the quality of the food you’re cooking. However, their mobility can be limiting, and they rely on having a gas line.