Now that spring is here, we’re going to be seeing a lot more outdoor get-togethers. But when people gather for barbecues, safety must always remain paramount. Grilling food as part of spring and summer festivities is certainly a great way to pass the time, but the average grill holds a number of hazards that need to be mitigated.
To make sure that you’re prepared early on, we’d like to turn your attention to some important information from the National Fire Protection Association. Safety begins with understanding just how dangerous grilling can be when the proper precautions aren’t taken. Between 2006 and 2010, 8,300 fires on average broke out every year because of a grill, with gas grills accounting for an estimated 7,100 of those fires annually. An average of ten people died each year, 140 were injured, and damages ran to about $75 million.
Nearly half the time, the fire is the result of flammable gas or liquid catching fire and getting out of control. 28% of the time, the fire has its genesis in a terrace or patio-type structure, while another 28% occur when the grill is on a porch or balcony. Only 6% of instances can be attributed to a grill positioned inside the kitchen.
The good news is that you can take steps to protect yourself the next time you grill. With a propane grill, check the unit prior to cooking to make sure that the gas line hasn’t sprung a leak. If you smell gas, delay grilling until you can get the leak fixed. One other handy way to test for a leak is to apply soap and water to the hose. If a bubble forms somewhere along the line, it’s a sign that a leak has occurred. Turn off the grill and have a service technician take a look. If the gas refuses to stop emanating even when you turn off the gas, contact local fire officials. The same goes for any sudden onset of the scent of gas that wafts into your nostrils while you’re grilling.
Charcoal grills pose their own risks that must be understood and mitigated. If you use some type of charcoal starting fluid, only use that substance, as adding another flammable material increases the chance of a fire. Keep this starting substance out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked area that’s not in danger of reaching high temperatures that could prompt a fire. When grilling is over, don’t be so quick to remove the coals that you dispose of them while they’re still hot. Wait until they cool off and then discard them in a metal canister of some sort.
Finally, supervise your grill at all time, keeping a particular eye on kids or pets in the area. Clean the unit regularly, and place the grill far away from anything that could catch fire.