Many Americans fire up the grill when the weather is warm, especially during summer holidays and family get-togethers. This adds up to more than three billion barbecues a year. But serious accidents can occur without proper precautions.
Here are some important tips to help you keep danger away when you are enjoying food and fun:
Choose a safe location for your grill. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-quarter (27%) of home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch.* Keep grills on a level surface more than 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck rails or other structures. Keep away from children, pets, landscaping and overhanging branches. Grills should not be used on a balcony or under an overhang.
Grill outside only! Never use a grill in a garage, vehicle, tent or other enclosed space, even if ventilated, due to risk of harmful carbon monoxide buildup.
Keep gas grills and supplies safe. Always store gas grills – and propane tanks – outside and away from your house. Turn off valves if the odor of gas is detected or when not in use. Check at least annually for leaks in the connections.
Use the right fuel the right way. While starting and maintaining the flame in a charcoal grill can be challenging, avoid shortcuts. Only use starter fluids intended for these grills. Never use gasoline or too much starter fluid. If the fire is too low, rekindle with dry kindling and more charcoal if needed. Avoid adding liquid fuel because it can cause a flash fire. Do not leave grill unattended.
Do not forget post-grilling safety. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. If using a charcoal grill, dispose of coals by soaking them in water to let them cool completely and placing them in a closed metal container away from your home, garage or deck. Be aware that grills themselves remain hot long after extinguished.