Whether you are someone who brings out the grill as the days grow warmer or someone who grills year-round, there are important safety tips that you should follow to keep everyone safe. Between 2014-2018, fire departments responded to 5,700 grill-related fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These fires caused approximately $14 million in property damages and 60 injuries. These can be avoided by taking steps, such as regularly cleaning the grill.
Whether you use a gas or charcoal grill, certain precautions need to be maintained. Gas grills are responsible for four out of five grill-related home fires.
Safety with Gas Grills
NFPA reports that leaks are a primary cause of gas grill fires.
- Before grilling, check for leaks by wiping down the hose with soapy water. Bubbles indicate a leak.
- If you smell gas with no flame, turn the gas tank off. Call a maintenance specialist before using.
- The grill should be open when the gas is turned on.
- Gas grills need to be stored away from the house.
Safety with Charcoal Grills
House fires resulting from charcoal grills generally are started because flammable materials were close to the grill.
- Check the grill for signs of rust damage before use.
- Following use, use caution while the coals are still hot.
- Stay with the grill when it is lit.
- If using starter fluid, use it only initially and store it safely.
- Rekindle a fire with coals or wood rather than using starter fluid which can flame up.
Location, Location, Location
Only use your grill outside in a well-ventilated area. This prevents fires and carbon monoxide buildup. Also, the grill should be placed on an even surface at least ten feet away from any structure, including your home. Watch out for any branches or material that could easily ignite.
If children are present when the grill is ignited, safety steps need to be established. Creating a zone around the grill will keep little ones from being injured. Talk with children about the importance of being safe around the grill. Create a three feet zone. This can be done by using markers, solar lights in the ground or paint. This reminds them to be safe around the grill.
Many people use their grill throughout the year. This can mean planning for longer pre-heating times with the grill closed. You also need to be aware of wind that can pick up lit material and ignite vegetation or your home. Also, winter clothing, such as scarves, can accidentally ignite, so it's best not to wear anything loose around the fire.
After You Grill
Cleaning the grill following use is very important. Allowing grease to build up and cause unintentional fires. Coals need to be extinguished and cleaned out. For gas grills, vents need to be closed and the cover shut. Following these safety steps will help you have an enjoyable, safe grilling experience each time.
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