Summer is here, and families are firing up their grill. However, negligence can cause grills to be dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 9,600 grill-related fires occur each year, with fires peaking during the month of July. With 70% of homeowners owning an outdoor grill or BBQ, there has been a spotlight placed on grill safety.
Many cooks prefer charcoal due to the way it cooks and the flavor that it imparts.
- Residual embers. Charcoal grills can stay hot for a long time, even after the flames have been extinguished. Avoid placing any flammable or burnable items near the grill while the charcoals are hot. Keep in mind that combustible items can be swept up by the wind, like the leaves or debris. Close the charcoal when not in use.
- Disintegrated rust. Rust is typical, especially on an older grill. However, mitigate its formation by properly storing the grill when not in use and placing it away from the elements. Rust can damage metal grills, which may cause charcoal to fall through and cause a fire.
- A word on charcoal starter fluid. Do not add charcoal starter fluid when the coals have already ignited. Also, make sure always to use proper starter fluid designed for charcoals.
A gas grill is convenient and offers more control. However, leaks contribute to grill-related fires, which is exasperated due to negligence.
- Check and recheck gas cylinders. Inspect the gas cylinder hose for any leaks right before you start the gas grill.
- If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the tank. If the leaks stopped, get a professional to service the grill before firing it up again. If you notice that the leak has not stopped, contact the fire department immediately.
- Leave your lid open. Gas can accumulate if you turn on the gas while the lid is closed. This creates a dangerous opportunity where the gas can be combustible.