Warmer weather often leads to people pulling the covers off their grills and cooking outside to keep the heat out of the kitchen. For many people, Memorial Day Weekend is one of the unofficial starts of summer and a great opportunity for the first outdoor cookout of the season. And while there’s not much that can top a nice summer barbecue, too many grills are used unsafely resulting in numerous injuries and structure fires.
Between 2014 and 2018 firefighters responded to an estimated average of 10,600 yearly home structure and outdoor fires involving a grill, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In addition to being a safety hazard, a grill that is not maintained may negatively affect the quality of your food.
Before you go firing up the grill this summer, review these tips to help keep you and your home safe during the grilling season!
Placing your grill in a safe place is the first and most important thing you can do to prevent a fire. This means away from any structures including a patio, deck, balcony, porch, garage, and your home. Many house fires that originated from a grill were a result of the grill being too closely positioned to a residence; by moving it a safe distance away from any structures, you won’t have to worry about anything nearby melting or igniting.
You will also want to make sure there is full clearance above the grill before you get started. As experienced cooks will know, high flames can erupt with little notice as food is added, and different reactions can take place that can be a hazard to anything above the grill. Make sure your clearing is void of anything like overhanging branches, decorations, or patio umbrellas.
Grease build-up and used charcoal are little issues that could lead to major ones. Any time you use your grill, grease and fallen food can build-up and prevent your grill from operating properly. A dirty grill can also remain flammable after the gas is turned off as the grease can act as fuel for the fire.
After using your grill, make sure to clean it thoroughly so it’s ready for your next use! Keeping your grill clean will not only make it safer but will also leave your food looking more scrumptious!
Check for Gas Leaks
While our homes are equipped to test the air for gas leaks, it can be more difficult to detect a gas leak outdoors. A simple way to check for gas leaks is by taking a 1:1 soap and water mixture and rubbing it over the hoses and connections to your grill. Any bubbling will indicate a gas leak. If the leak is in the middle of the hose, it will need to be replaced before being used further.
Protect Yourself with Proper Attire
Wearing an apron while grilling will not only keep your clothing clean, but it will also add an additional layer of protection between the grill and you. In addition to an apron, you should also make use of oven mitts when necessary to protect your hands and arms.
As a reminder you shouldn’t leave a burning grill unattended. Before you get started cooking, fully prepare by making sure you have easy access to everything you may need, including your apron, oven mitts, utensils, and any food and seasonings.
Even the most experienced grillers may encounter an outburst of flames. Keeping this in mind, it is important to have a working fire extinguisher nearby. Working means that your fire extinguisher has been tested and it is not expired. In addition to having an extinguisher handy, baking soda can also be a great help against a grease fire. (Never use water on a grease fire!)
A hangry family is no reason to rush when grilling. Follow these steps and keep you, your family, and friends safe this summer.
Have questions about what you've read? Feel free to contact your local FUSA Insurance Agent and they can help you out!Find an Agent