Grilling Season Fire Safety Tips
We know that you and your family are eager to break out the grill and enjoy a cookout. And, why wouldn’t you? It’s a popular American tradition. Did you know that seven out of every 10 adults have a grill or smoker? That means, as more people begin barbecuing burgers, steaks, and kabobs, there’s an increased risk of injury and fire damage.
Let’s take a look at a few stats by the National Fire Protection Association:
- On average 19,000 people went to the emergency room due to injuries involving grilling accidents.
- Each year an average of 10,200 home fires, 4,500 structure fires, and 5,700 outdoor fires are caused by grilling.
- Cooking fires are responsible for an average of 480 deaths every year.
Check out these seven tips to keep you safe this grilling season:
1. Check Your Grill for Damages
Before you start grilling, check the gas tank hose for leaks.
Here is a simple way to do this:
- Mix soap and water and spray the hose with it.
- Get the gas moving by turning on the propane tank.
- Check the soap and water for bubbles (this is caused by a gas leak).
- If there are bubbles, you need to get your grill serviced by a professional.
- If the leak keeps going, call the fire department, don’t wait.
2. Follow the Proper Procedures to Turn on the Grill
Propane comes with several dangers given that it is highly flammable. Because of this, to prevent the flow of gas from igniting, you should turn on the grill with the proper steps.
- Open the lid first to give the gas room to move (instead of bottling up).
- Turn on the propane tank.
- Now you can turn the knobs on the grill to let the gas flow freely.
- Press the ignition button to light the gas.
If the grill does not light up, make sure to turn everything off and wait 5 minutes to let the gas dissipate before trying again. Which leads us to our next point...
3. Turn Off the Grill Properly
Here’s the simple part. Before you do anything, turn off the propane first. The propane is the source, so when you turn it off, you won’t have to worry about accidentally igniting any stray gas.
4. Keep Distance from the Home, Deck Railings, and Children
If a grill is within 3 to 5 feet of your home, then a spark or other accidents may lead to a structural fire. Also, when it is close to the deck railing, you run the risk of accidentally tipping the grill over. Be safe and make sure your grill maintains a safe distance from the home, deck railings, and especially from pets and kids.
5. Never Leave the Grill Unattended
According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking was the leading contributor to fires and fire deaths. By keeping an eye on your grill, you lessen the risk of letting a grill fire go out of control. As well, you can put out small fires before they become too strong.
6. Don’t Fight the Fire Without Proper Equipment
If a fire does start, you need to be careful and judge the situation accordingly. Do not fight the fire unless you have a high-quality and reliable fire extinguisher on-hand like our STOP-FYRE® Standard and High Capacity units.
If the fire cannot be contained, or if you don’t feel safe fighting the fire yourself, immediately call the fire department.
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7. Charcoal Grill Safety Tips
Charcoal grills cause fewer fires than their propane counterparts. But still, you need to stay safe when using a charcoal grill. If you use starter fluid, make sure the fluid was specifically made for charcoal. Always keep lighter fluid away from children. Lastly, when you are done grilling, let the charcoal cool down completely before disposing of it in a metal container.
Now, you are ready to break out the grill and have a good time while enjoying good food! Remember, practicing proper fire safety can prevent property damage and tragedies. In fact, cooking fires are responsible for $123 million in property damage. More importantly, by following these tips, you will keep your friends and family safe. If a fire does break out and you cannot contain it in a safe way, contact your fire department immediately!