Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.
Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.
There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.
TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS
Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).
NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.
Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.
CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS
Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.
To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.
GAS GRILL TIPS
From the National Fire Protection Association
Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.
If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.
Happy grilling, and stay safe this summer season!