As the weather warms and summer returns, it’s time to GRILL! There are risks that come along with grilling, regardless of which type of grill you are using. Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using barbecue grills. It’s usually a case of good products used incorrectly. You can prevent grilling accidents and insurance claims by ‘brushing up’ on these tips.
1. Only use your grill outside and keep it at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills. Keeping a 3-foot safe zone around your grill will also keep kids and pets safe.
2. Clean your grill regularly and after each use to remove grease that can start a fire. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they will provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.
3. Check for gas leaks. You can check for gas leaks by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Only light your gas grill with the lid OPEN!
4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.
5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!
6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And, KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job.
7. Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches. Don’t walk away from them when they are lit.
Keep in mind that when you grill, you are playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. The National Fire Prevention Association says an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking these simple precautions. The grilling safety tips above can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.