Most people have fond memories of outdoor barbecues. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and steaks – all enjoyed in beautiful summer breezes with family and friends.
But with this fun comes the risk of fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to 8900 home fires each year involving grills, hibachis or barbecues. About one in three of these fires start on an unenclosed porch or exterior balcony.
All of us at My Alarm Center Emergency Services want you to fully enjoy outdoor grilling this summer. Follow these tips to avoid the risks of fire and other accidents:
- Study the owner’s manual. Review the owner’s manual of your grill each grilling season. It’s packed with tips and pointers to operate your grill in a safe manner.
- Follow local codes. For electrically operated accessories and outdoor kitchens, follow required grounding and building code rules and regulations.
- Inspect your grill to make sure it is in good working order. Make sure your grill is free of rust and holes. For propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks. Simply apply water and a light soap to the hose. A propane leak will create bubbles. You may also smell leaking gas. If you smell leaking gas or see the soapy bubbles and still have a flame, turn the grill off and get it serviced by a professional. If the leak or flame does not stop, call the fire department immediately.
- Only use grills outdoors. Place them well away from your home and family members, away from branches and deck railings and out from under eaves.
- Make sure your grill is stable. All parts of the grill should be firmly in place so that it can’t be easily tipped over.
- Keep kids and other smaller family members away from the grilling area. Keep pets away too. Both increase your risks of accidents.
- Keep starter fluids out of reach of children. Only use charcoal lighter fluids. Never add flammable liquids to an active fire. Keep lighter fluid away from heat and flame sources.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Clothing should not have loose strings or loose parts that could easily catch fire. Use flame retardant mitts when handling your grill.
- Use long-handled utensils. They reduce your risk of your clothing catching fire and of you getting burns while cooking.
- Be prepared to extinguish flames. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. If one is not available, baking soda, sand or water are other good options.
- Never leave your grill unattended. It only takes a second or two for a problem to start.
- Let the grill cool off. After grilling with charcoal, make sure the coals are completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container. Never attempt to move a hot grill. Make sure your grill is fully cool and clean before putting on a protective grill cover.
- Clean your grill after each use. Remove grease or fat buildup on the grill surface and the trays below the grilling area.
Summertime is fun time. Enjoy your outdoor grilling, enjoy your friends and family members and follow these tips for outdoor grilling safely!