It can only be described as American to grill on the 4th of July. There is just something patriotic about the act. But an often forgotten fact is that grilling can be very dangerous. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 19,700 people go to the emergency room every year because of a grilling accident. This statistic shows the importance of grill safety because the majority of these injuries can be prevented. There are 3 main types of grills: propane, charcoal, and electric. Each of these grills have their dangers, but they all have one thing in common; they can all burn you! This article will teach you grill safety for the 3 main types of grills as well as some general tips to help keep you, your family, and your friends safe.
Propane grills are dangerous because the gas, propane, is highly combustible. This means that you can get a very good crisp on your burgers, but it also means that propane tanks can explode in rare circumstances. Propane tanks are most dangerous at the beginning of grilling season or when they have not been used in a few months. There are some things you can do to prevent misfortune from propane grills and tanks. These grill safety tips are:
- Store propane tanks outside at all times and away from heating sources, like grills. Also, never store or transport them in your car’s trunk.
- When changing or moving tanks, always make sure gas is turned off completely. A small gas leak can cause an explosion which can be deadly.
- Check all tanks for damage before using them and only buy tanks from certified propane sellers.
- If a leak is suspected, spray a soapy solution over the connections and watch for any bubbles. If there are bubbles, turn off gas then reconnect the components, and try again. If persists, replace parts.
- Make sure all connections are secure before turning on the gas, especially if the tank has not been used in a few months.
- Always ignite propane grills with the lid open. Closed lids can accumulate the combustible gas and can cause explosions.
- When finished, turn the gas off first from the tank, then proceed with the controls on the grill. This will help prevent gas from staying in the pipes which can get old and pose a safety risk.
The most dangerous element of a charcoal grill is the carbon monoxide (CO) that is vented from burning the charcoal. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 20 people die every year from ingesting CO from charcoal grills. Here is how to use grill safety by preventing the dangerous gas carbon monoxide and other dangers when using a charcoal grill:
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors, even if the area is well vented. CO is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly without the dangers being detected.
- Only use approved barbecue lighter fluid. Do not add lighter fluid to an open flame as the flame can travel up the lighter fluid stream to where you are holding.
- Let the lighter fluid soak into the charcoal for at least a minute before lighting. This will help release some of the explosive gases in the fluid.
- Make sure to not spill lighter fluid on yourself and stand back when lighting the grill. We suggest a lighter with a long neck so you can distance yourself from the charcoal and flames. Also keep lighter fluid away from the grill when lighting.
- When done, place ashes in a metal lid and add water. Do not remove until coals are fully cooled.
Electric grills are perhaps the most safe grills on the list. This is because they do not possess the combustible gas that propane grills do. They also do not produce carbon monoxide and other harmful gasses that charcoal grills do. They are know to be more environmentally friendly as well. Because of the absence of some of the dangers other grills have, they are the only ones permitted for use indoors. But even though they are more safe, there are still some tips to keep it as safe as possible. These grill safety tips are:
- Never use lighter fluid or any other combustible material on a electric grill. This will not only ruin the grill, but it also poses the chance of causing an explosion.
- When using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for the amperage required for the grill.
- Make sure the cord is unplugged when not in use. Also, make sure that the grill is not in a busy foot path area to prevent tripping.
- It is recommended that electric grills not be used while it is raining to prevent electricity shortages, which can cause house fires or other serious harm.
General Safety Reccomedations
Here are some tips to keep in mind for highest grill safety while using any type of grill. These tips are:
- Always make sure a grill is used in a safe place where children and animals won’t touch or bump into it. Grills can remain hot for hours after use, so make sure it is in a good place for the entire cool-down period.
- Never leave a grill unattended. This is when the majority of accidents happen.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose around at all times while grill is in use. This will prevent a fire from spreading in case one occurs.
- Ensure grill is completely cool before moving it or placing it back into storage.
- Make sure grill is only used on flat surface and not near any houses, sheds, trees, or shrubs. These objects pose extra fire threats. The heat can also damage homes and sheds by warping siding as well as cause other damage.
- Clean grease and other debris regularly to ensure there are no extra fire threats. During this time, also check for rust and other signs of deterioration.
- Do not wear loose clothing when using a grill. These clothes pose an unnecessary threat of catching fire.
- Use long handled grill tools and flame resistant oven mitts to prevent burns and fire risk.
- Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill because they are flammable!
Grill safety is a very important part of keeping your friends and family safe! On behalf of SMARTMOVE Inspection, we hope everybody has a great 4th of July and stays safe! God Bless!