Spring is finally here! Time to dust off the BBQ and get grilling! Most of us when the weather gets warmer are ready to start our outdoor cooking again. Caution should be taken for if the grill has been sitting outdoors all winter there are some safety checks you should make to ensure the grill is safe for use. I have included 2 quick videos at the end of this post, that will explain the safety steps you should take before starting your grill. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) very year hundreds of fires are started by faulty grills … causing many serious injuries and millions of dollars of property damage. Follow these 10 Safety Tips and you will have a delicious, safe outdoor cooking season.
- INSTRUCTION MANUAL – read the safety part of the instruction manual for your grill carefully. All grills do not work the same. If you do not have the manual for your grill you can probably get a copy from the manufacturer’s website.
- FIRE – when not properly contained will cause your outdoor BBQ to turn deadly. Be sure to have a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher close at hand. Be sure you know how to stop the fuel supply, operate the fire extinguisher and have the fire department’s phone number handy before you start your grilling. There should be someone watching the fire at all times and ready to extinguish the fire rapidly to avoid dangerous situations.
- LOCATION – Be aware of what is around your grill. The safety manual of your grill will give the proper minimum distances that you must keep clear from any obstruction. You will need to stay vigilant to keep children away from the hot grill. Too close to a building, tree or car could easily become a fire hazard.
- GAS LEAKS – is the number one cause of most gas grill fires. You should regularly check that your grill is leak free. These leaks can be at any connection. Making a soapy mixture that you can spread over the connections will bubble if there are any leaks. At the first sign of leak, turn off your gas control knob quickly, turn off the flow from the gas tank and disconnect the gas hoses.
- CHARCOAL USE – More BBQ fires happen with charcoal than gas. Lighting the charcoal can be tricky. Never put lighter fluid on hot coals for the fuel will explode and quickly burn you. Let the fluid soak into the charcoal and do not use too much for it will cause a huge flare up.
- FOOD SAFETY – There are basic rules when it comes to food safety from bacteria. Bacteria can grow quickly at a wide range of temperatures from just above freezing to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit. These bacteria can make you and your guests quite sick. Keep food refrigerated until you are ready to put them on the grill. You should keep food covered, cool and grill food long enough to kill all the bacteria that it might have come in contact with.
- GREASE –barbequing creates a great deal of grease. This grease can easily flare-up and cause the grill to greatly over heat and cause an out of control fire. Keeping your grill clean by cleaning often will help keep these flare-ups less likely.
- DRINKING ALCOHOL – Grilling requires you to pay attention to detail. Alcohol and grilling can cause an accident to easily happen. Grill wisely with a clear head.
- OUTDOORS ONLY – Gas and charcoal grills should be used only outdoors. Grills should not be used in a confined area for carbon monoxide may accumulate to dangerous levels.
- STABLE, LONG-HANDLED, SAFE CLOTHING – What do these three statements mean? Make sure your grill is stable on a hard surface so it can’t tip over. Use long-handled utensils to avoid getting burnt or spattered by hot grease. Wear clothing that doesn’t have loose parts that can easily catch on fire. Be sure to use fire – retarded cooking mitts to keep your hands safe.
Enjoy this barbecue season safely with your family. Remember any time you are near fire you could get burned. Taking precautions and using common sense will help prevent injuries and costly property damage.