Summer is here, and what’s more American than an old-fashioned backyard barbecue? Nothing goes better with hamburgers and hot dogs than warm weather, cold drinks and great friends. Grilling is a terrific way to bring people together.
But whenever you cook with an open flame, safety needs to be at the forefront of your mind. From 2013 to 2017, firefighters in the U.S. went to an average of 10,700 residential fires per year caused by grills. On average, 10 people died a year in those fires, 19,000 went to the emergency room and there was $123 million in property damage. Grilling can be safe, fun and delicious by keeping the following tips in mind.
1. Grill outdoors and away from structures. If rain hampers your outdoor bash, you might think to move your grill into a garage or underneath your house’s eaves to keep the party going. But these scenarios create major hazards. Grills emit carbon monoxide, a deadly, invisible, odorless gas. And if you grill under eaves or in a carport, flareups could ignite your home.
2. Keep your grill clean: Grease and fat can build up on your grill's surface if it isn’t cleaned properly after each use – both are extremely flammable and the fire could be unpredictable. If you’re using charcoal, wait until the coals cool completely before dumping them.
3. Never leave the grill unattended: An unattended grill is a dangerous grill. Grills can become unstable and tip, potentially resulting in severe burns to pets or children. Also, fires can grow out of control faster than you may realize. To maximize your time by the grill, do the prep work ahead of time.
4. Don’t turn on the gas with the lid closed: Turning on propane with the lid closed will cause a gas buildup inside your grill. When you ignite the grill, it could cause an explosive fireball.
5. Keep a fire extinguisher near: Most hazardous situations on the grill can be quickly remedied if you’re prepared. Keep a fire extinguisher near you while you grill in case the fire gets out of hand. But if you’re facing any fire emergency, don’t hesitate to call 911 immediately.