House fires can start for any number of reasons, but one of the most common causes is backyard barbecues. These accidents result in hundreds of millions in property damage and injuries. Today, we are going to share some wisdom with you that might prevent you or your family from becoming yet another statistic this summer.
What are the Top Safety Tips for Outdoor Grilling?
We checked in with our friends over at the National Fire Prevention Agency to get the latest facts and tips for preventing grill accidents. Unfortunately, fires are only one of the common problems.
Many injuries involving grills happen because of thermal burns, caused when someone accidentally touches a hot grill or coals. Explosions are frequently the result of propane leaks that go undetected until it is too late. Then, there are a huge number of illnesses that happen because of improperly cooked food, cross-contamination from raw meat, and poisonous build-up of chemicals from cooking on a charcoal or gas grill.
We are going to start with some basic grilling safety steps you should take to get your grill or smoker ready for the grilling season and provide some solutions to make sure you and your family have an enjoyable, delicious, and safe summer.
How Do I Prepare My Grill for Summer?
After a long winter, your grill is probably feeling neglected. That means it is time to get out in the yard, open it up, and get the grill clean. Start with the basics – remove the grill grates and make sure they are clean. We've got an excellent rundown on the best way to clean them no matter what you left on there last year.
While you have the grill grates off, clean the burners on gas grills or the ash box on a charcoal grill. If the burners are showing signs of wear (like stretched-out holes or rust that won't come off) it's time to replace them. Don't forget to clean under the reflector plates and look for signs of rust or damage. A friend once found a rat's nest in there – so it is always a good idea to check it and clean it.
Next, it's a good idea to check the condition of propane tanks. A quick way to make sure your tanks are okay is to mix up a spray bottle with very soapy water and spray around the valve. A propane leak will cause the soapy water to bubble, a sure sign that you run the risk of an explosion.
Replace leaky propane tanks or have the valves replaced by a qualified service shop.
Do the same check for the propane regulator and the supply line that runs to the burner for a gas leak. Look for burns, cracks, and melted spots on supply lines and replace them as needed. If you see bubbles or smell gas, your grill is not safe to use. This is an inexpensive part that can cause an expensive fire, so just change it if it shows signs of wear and tear.
We've got a complete guide for you that shows the steps for completely cleaning your grill from top to bottom. We recommend that you check it out before you get grilling to make sure that your grill is just as ready as you are.
Grilling Safety Tips for Summer Barbecues
Once your grill is clean, it's time to focus on the basic summer grilling safety tips.
Tip #1: Never leave a grill unattended.
Children represent nearly half of all injuries during grilling season because adults leave the grill unattended.
Tip #2: Never grill indoors.
It's a great way to start gas grill fires and poison yourself. One of the common ways that home fires get started is because the grill is under the eaves, overhanging branches, or in the garage, where flare-ups can start fires. You can avoid most of the common causes of home fires by moving the grill to a safe place.
Tip #3: Never use lighter fluid with charcoal grills.
If you are going to use charcoal starter fluid, be cautious. Don't overdo it, or you'll be calling the fire department. Regardless of the type of grill, it is a great idea to pick up a fire extinguisher that is rated for grease fire use and keep it charged. Make sure that you have an appropriate metal container to dispose of hot coals. In order to avoid this problem altogether, we like to use natural fire starters.
Tip #4: Always cook your meat to the proper temperature.
We talk a lot about food safety tips because it is very important. Make sure you have a reliable meat thermometer and that you always cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature. Never assume that cooked foods are done until you use a food thermometer to check.
Have a Safe and Tasty BBQ Season!
These grilling safety tips can help you avoid most of the common accidents that will quickly ruin your grilling season. Simple things like avoiding loose clothing and making sure that children are not playing around the grill will prevent lots of injuries. Finally, make sure to cook food all the way to keep everyone healthy, and you'll be well on your way to not being "that neighbor" who has the fire department over accidentally on the weekend.