Grill Safety Tips

BBQ Grill Safety

Grill Safety – Gas Grills

Every year thousands of people enjoy the flavor of food that comes off the BBQ. Nothing beats firing up your bbq grill on a summer night, especially if there are friends in your company and your favorite cold beverage in hand. But, it is important to practice smart grilling. An accident can happen in the blink of an eye – nearly 7,000 Americans are injured annually while grilling. No matter if you have a gas grill, charcoal grill, or electric grill, consider these safety tips to protect you and your family while grilling this summer.

In order to enjoy the food without the danger, there are several precautions that you need to take.

The first step in gas grill safety happens before you ever turn it on. Whether you’re using a new grill for the first time or firing up a grill you’ve had forever, preparing your grill properly will greatly reduce any potential gas explosions. Make sure that you are well versed in your manufacturer instructions for your particular grill, and refer to that manual whenever you have any questions.

Before you turn on the grill, you want to check for any gas leaks. Turn on the gas and if you can smell gas or detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and do not try to light the grill until the leak is found and repaired. Do not attempt to repair the leak yourself, but call a professional repair person to inspect your grill. Once you know that the gas line is secure, check your tubes for any blockage and your hoses for any cracks, leaks or bends. Blockages can be cleared with pipe cleaner or wire and damaged tubing should be replaced.

Once your grill has been inspected, the second thing is to prepare the area around the grill, as well as yourself. Always use your gas grill outside, and keep it at least 10 feet away from any building. Remove your hoses from hot surfaces and dripping grease. Keep all children and pet away from the grill and make sure that you always have a fire extinguisher nearby. As an extra level of protection, never wear loose clothing while you are grilling and use utensils that are designed for grill use, as they keep you farther away from the fire. If your grill does catch fire, there are several quick measures that you can take. If you are simply at the point that the fire in the grill in out of your control, first turn the burners off to extinguish the flame. If the fire is in one of the hoses, check to see if you have safe access to the propane tank valve and if you are safe, shut the tank valve off. If the fire is in the tank, or if you feel like you cannot extinguish it without causing harm to yourself, evacuate the area around the grill and call the fire department.

In the world of barbeque, gas grills are quickly taking their place as the top of the line, and for good reason. They're easy to use, and they're fairly economical too. Unlike with charcoal choices, it takes very little time to heat up the grill, so you're ready to go as soon as you get home from work. As convenient as they are, though, they're not necessarily the safest cooking instruments in the world. Fortunately, following these safety tips can help you avoid accidents with your next grilled meal.

  • Give Yourself Adequate Distance When Grilling – The National Fire Protection Association reports that approximately a quarter of home fires started by bbq grills occurred when the grill was in a patio, terrace or courtyard. Nearly a third began on an exterior balcony or porch. You should keep your grill at least ten feet away from your home or any surrounding structures. Be wary of trees as well. Using your grill indoors can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Clean Your Grill – Failure to clean your grill regularly can result in a grease fire. You should remove grease and fat that has accumulated on your grates and in the drip-tray below your grill. A wire brush should be used to help scrub away buildup.
  • Ventilation is a Must -- With any barbeque, gas grills included, you have to grill in a well-ventilated area. Carbon monoxide can easily build up in an enclosed space, which can make it dangerous for you and anyone else around you. Even if you're trying to hold an outdoor barbeque, gas grills can create carbon monoxide fumes in a space that isn't large enough, so make certain you bring your grill out into the open.Grills can be one of the most enjoyable parts of summer.
  • Be Prepared In Case Of Emergency – You should keep a spray bottle full of water and a fire extinguisher in close proximity to your grill. The water bottle can be used in case of a minor flare-up, without ruining your meal. Be sure you know how to use your fire extinguisher in case of a larger fire. Having a fire extinguisher close will not do you any good if you are trying to read the instructions while your grill is in flames!
  • Do Not Start Your Gas Grill Without Opening The Lid – Doing so causes gas to build up inside your grill. When this gas is sparked, it can create a dangerous explosion that you will have no way to escape from. Additionally, if the flame goes out on your gas grill, you should turn the gas connection off and wait five minutes before relighting your grill.
  • Don't Overfill -- As you probably know, when it comes to the world of barbeque, gas grills require additional propane at some point. In some cases, you may be headed to a refill station to get the gas you need to grill. If that's the case, make certain you don't overfill the tank.
    With a 20 pound cylinder, you should only fill it to 80 percent capacity. That gives it a bit of room to expand if necessary, so don't ask anyone to overfill it for you.
  • Do Not Leave The Grill Unattended – Even if you are going inside to check on another dish or to use the restroom, you should ask someone to monitor your grill. A fire can strike at any time, and double in size every minute. 

Grill Safety – Charcoal Grills

When you are getting ready to enjoy the wonders of a barbecued meal, the last thing that you want is to damper the occasion through a grill accident. Each type of grill has its own unique dangers as well as the precautions that you, as the griller, need to take to make sure that you and everyone around you remain safe.

One of the biggest dangers inherent to a charcoal grill is the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. When charcoal is burned, it produces the colorless, odorless gas carbon monoxide that can quickly reach toxic levels. In fact, every year,

There are about 100 people that are injured from the carbon monoxide fumes that emit from charcoal grills. (Source:

The easiest way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning is to never use charcoal grills indoors. This includes homes, tents, and campers. Carbon monoxide accumulates quickest in closed environments and can reach toxic levels even when there is ventilation. Since carbon monoxide is emitted from coals until the moment they are completely extinguished, this also means that you should never store a grill inside that has freshly used coals.

Outside of carbon monoxide poisoning, there are other simple fire safety steps that you can take to make sure that you have no problems while you are at the grill.

The first step is to properly prepare your grill. Keep it a safe distance from any buildings, tress, or other items that could catch fire. It is also extremely important that you keep any children or pets away from the designated grill area. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the case of any small fire emergencies.

Specifically, with charcoal, make sure that once your charcoal is lit that you refrain from adding additional lighter fluid. This is a dangerous practice lighter fluid turns to gas at low temperature. This means that as the fire can return into the fluid container, which will lead to an explosion. Always follow the instructions on the lighter fluid container.

The final steps in grill safety are how you prepare your personal self. Never wear loose clothing while you are grilling. Loose clothing can accidentally pass over the flames, catching yourself on fire. The other big precautionary step is to always use appropriate, specifically designed grill utensils. Grill utensils have longer handles, which allow you to keep a safe distance away from the flame.

by Tracy Hollander on 26th Jul 2017
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