Grilling Safety: 10 Things Everyone Should Know
As we cruise into September, many folks in the Triangle area are going to fire up the grill on Labor Day weekend. That means a lot of tasty meals are going to be served up - but more grilling also means more risk of home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 19,700 people per year went to emergency rooms during the years between 2014-2018 for injuries involving grills. Gas and charcoal grills together are involved in approximately 10,200 home fires per year.
Want to avoid becoming a statistic? Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you get ready to grill it up.
1. Grill Outside.
It probably goes without saying, but never operate your outdoor grill while indoors. Gas and charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide and other toxins that you don’t want in your home. Make sure you keep your grill in a space where the smoke is able to escape freely--and watch out for any overhanging tree branches!
2. Keep Things Stable.
If your grill tips over, things can get very hot very quickly. Set up your grill on a flat, even surface, and consider using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath to protect your deck or patio.
3. Keep It Clean.
Fat and grease buildups on the grill can cause flare ups and provide more fuel to the fire. To avoid unwelcome surprises (and help your food taste better), clean your grill regularly.
4. Check Gas Lines Before Starting.
Gas leaks increase the risk of fire if not properly attended to. It’s a good idea to conduct a gas leak test if you haven’t used your grill in a while, just to make sure that everything is in working order. Signs of a propane leak include the smell of gas near your grill or a flame that won’t light.
5. Start a Gas Grill With the Lid Open.
Lighting your grill with the lid closed can cause a dangerous buildup of gas. Always start a gas grill with the lid open.
6. Be Responsible With Lighter Fluid.
If you’re using lighter fluid on your charcoal grill, don’t overdo it. Only use the lighter fluid to start the grill - don’t keep adding more to the fire once things get started.
7. Never Leave Your Grill Unattended.
Never leave the fire unattended, and don’t allow children or pets to play near a working grill. Never try to move a lit or hot grill (the risk of burns is very real).
8. Protect Yourself.
Clothing can easily catch fire, so make sure that you aren’t wearing loose clothes with hanging sleeves that could dip into the flames. Watch out to make sure shirt tails or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill.
9. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy.
And know how to use it! If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand near the grill in order to put out the fire if things get out of hand. Keep baking soda close by to control a grease fire if things get out of hand. Never use water to put out a grease fire.
10. Shut Things Down Correctly.
If you’ve got a charcoal grill, wait for the coals to stop burning, and let the grill cool down completely. If you’re working with a gas grill, make sure you turn off the burners and the fuel supply (many people do one, but forget the second step). Always wait for everything to cool off completely before you move or cover your grill.
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