Grilling and barbecuing is not just a summer activity. In fact, it is probably best enjoyed in the fall when the temperatures are lower. And of course, you have football season.
No, not soccer for our international readers out there – true, by gawd American (and Canadian) football, played with a proper pigskin.
With football comes tailgating and gameday parties at the house – and lots of brow-ha-ha floeth. With the amount of alcohol that tends to be found at these sorts of events, accidents can happen. And extra care and vigilance should be use around hot and flammable BBQ grills.
Here are our top 14 tips to help keep you safe at your next barbecue:
1. Handle flammables with care.
In order to be enjoyed safely, extremely flammable fuels like liquid propane and natural gas, briquettes, and wood chips need to be handled with respect and a bit of common sense.
2. Never use an outdoor grill indoors, and only use in well-ventilated areas.
Both gas and charcoal models emit poisonous carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly in enclosed areas.
3. Keep a safe distance.
Always ensure your barbecue has a clearance of at least 15 feet from overhanging tree branches, buildings, vehicles, and open doors and windows, to reduce the chance of accidental fires and buildup of fumes.
4. Make sure “out” is really out.
Ensure that charcoal, wood chips, and wood lumps are thoroughly extinguished before disposing – charcoal embers can still be hot, even though they look like ash.
5. Ensure that you have the right kind of fire extinguisher.
Keep a small C02 fire extinguisher, or a generous amount of baking soda, close by to douse any inadvertent fires – and never try to put out a grease fire with water.
6. Perform periodic maintenance.
Maintain your grill. Before lighting up for the first barbecue of the year and periodically throughout the season, check all fittings, tubes, and connections to ensure they’re in good condition, that they’re connected tightly, and that there are no leaks.
7. Get in the crevices – clean those tubes!
Ensure that the tubes that feed the burners are free of any blockages from food grease, insects, and other debris. Use a pipe cleaner or small awl to clear any blockages.
8. Gas hoses can melt – and that would be bad.
Keep gas hoses as far away from hot surfaces as possible.
9. Remain aware of your surroundings.
Never leave the grill unattended, and keep small children and pets away from the area at all times.
10. Wear appropriate PPE.
This stands for personal protective equipment, and it’s important. Don’t wear loose clothing close to open flames and always use protective gear, such as fireproof oven mitts and long-handled utensils.
11. Don’t eat metal.
Use a good-quality stainless steel brush to clean the grate, AND wipe with a damp rag afterwards to pick up any loose bristles.
12. Store fuel tanks correctly.
Don’t bring propane tanks indoors. Always store them outside, in an upright position.
Never leave a propane tank in the trunk of your car on a hot day either – excess heat can trigger the cylinder relief valve, releasing gas into your vehicle.
Ensure that the valve at the tank and all burners are turned off when not in use.
13. Observe proper ignition protocols.
Always leave the lid open when igniting the grill. Closing the lid can cause a quick buildup of gas, which can cause an explosion.
If your gas barbecue doesn’t light immediately or goes out, turn off the valve and burners, and leave the lid open for five minutes before trying again. Gas is heavier than air and needs time to clear from the bottom of the cookbox.
Never use any type of accelerant, such as gasoline or lighter fluid, on coals.
14. Use Care when swapping tanks with a hot grill.
If you have to switch propane tanks mid-barbecue, always turn off the tank valve and burners before switching tanks. And ensure that there’s adequate clearance to access the tank without touching the hot surface.
For natural gas grills, periodically check the color of your flame. It should be mostly blue with a yellow tip. If it’s mostly yellow, turn off the gas and contact a certified pipefitter for maintenance.
To ensure a safe and fun grilling season, make cleaning, maintenance, and inspection of your barbecue a regular part of your routine.
What about you? Do you have any grilling safety tips that you can share with the community? Let us all know in the comments below!
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.