Tips for Safe Summer Barbecues
Welcome to our tips for safe summer barbecues. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 8,000 home fires a year involve gas grills. Solid fuel barbecues are involved in 1,300 home fires per year. More than 7,000 Americans are injured while they are using backyard barbecue grills. Those injuries are not usually a result of faulty equipment. They are a result of not using the equipment properly. With 7 in every 10 Americans owning a smoker or barbecue grill, there’s a lot of people at risk. So, before you go out to enjoy your summer barbecue, take the time to read our top tips for safe summer barbecues.
1. Keep the Grill Clean
The first barbecue and grill safety tip is a very simple one. Clean your barbecue or grill regularly and be sure to remove all the grease. If fat and grease build up on a barbecue, it could catch fire. Make sure that the grill has cooled down though, before you start cleaning it.
2. Grill Away from the House and Other Structures
Gas grills and charcoal barbecues should only be used outdoors. Even when you do barbecue outdoors, you need to be aware of potential fire risks. Ideally, the grill or barbecue should be at least ten feet away from any structures. Watch out for overhanging tree branches when set up your grill too.
3. Check for Gas Leaks
When you are getting your grill ready for the summer season, check for gas leaks. You can do this by applying a soapy water solution to the hose. If the soap solution bubbles when you turn on the propane, you have a gas leak. If the barbecue won’t light and you smell gas, that too is a sign that have a gas leak.
5. Be Very Careful with Starter Fluid
When using a charcoal barbecue, be very careful with starter fluid. Don’t use too much, and never try to use other flammable liquids to start a barbecue. Don’t try to use more starter fluid on already burning barbecue. The flame might jump right back up to the starter fluid in your hand. As an alternative to starter fluid, consider using a barbecue charcoal chimney starter. They are much safer. They use newspaper to get the fire going.
5. Never Leave a Burning Grill Unattended
Prepare all your food in advance so that you don’t have to ever leave the grill unattended. Grill fires can double in size in under a minute. So, stay with your barbecue when it’s alight. Even a quick trip indoors to get more beers could result in a disaster.
6. Keep Spray Bottle of Water Near the Grill
You shouldn’t use water to extinguish a barbecue fire, because that can make the fire spread. If a barbecue gets a little bit of control, though, a light spray of water will calm it down. Keep a water spray bottle near to the grill. You can use it to prevent a fire, and it won’t spoil the food.
7. Ensure That the Grill Is Stable
When you set up a barbecue, make sure that it is on flat ground. If a hot grill topples over, you are going to have a big problem. If you are grilling on a deck or a patio, use a grill splatter mat. These will help prevent fires, and they will stop your patio or deck getting stained.
8. Don’t let Kids Play Near a Barbecue or Grill
Keep children away from a barbecue or grill. A lot of kids get injured because they touch or fall on a hot grill. If the kids are playing any kind of ball game, make sure they are well away from the grill. A stray ball could topple a burning barbecue over.
9. Keep Your Clothes Clear of the Flames
Make sure that you tuck in all your clothing. Loose apron strings and dangling shirt tails could catch on fire. It’s advisable to wear a tight-fitting shirt when grilling, so that hot fat and grease doesn’t splatter onto your bare skin.
10. Have a Fire Extinguisher on Hand.
Be prepared to put out a fire. Have a bucket of sand, baking soda or a fire extinguisher on hand when you grill. You need to make sure that the fire extinguisher you use is suitable for grease fires. If a fire does get out of control, call the fire department straight away. A lot of fire related deaths and injuries are the result of people trying to fight fires themselves. You’ll find more useful info on fire extinguishers here.
11. If the Flame Goes Out, Wait Before You Relight It
If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, leave it for five minutes before you try to relight it. Gas can build up in and around a barbecue if the flame goes out. If you try to relight it straight away, you could get a ball of flame in your face.
12. Don’t Overload a Grill with Food
Don’t pile too much food at once onto a barbecue. Especially fatty meats. If too much grease drips onto the burning charcoal, it could ignite and cause a flare-up.
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