With Barbecue Season well and truly underway there is a tendency for safety warnings to lean towards the preparation and cooking of the food. We don’t want anyone to disregard these warnings but just remember there is more to having a nice ‘cook out’ than just making sure the food is cooked. Here are nine safety tips for safe barbecuing. Enjoy the good weather and stay safe out there.
1. Grill outside and away from any structures
Charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. However, NFPA reports that more than one-quarter (27 percent) of home fires started by outdoor grills began in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and 29 percent started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill.
2. Make sure your grill is stable
Only set up your grill on a flat surface and make sure the grill can’t be tipped over. Consider using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath your grill to protect your deck or patio.
3. Keep your grill clean
Remove grease or fat buildup from both the grill and the tray below the grill. If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to completely cool off before disposing of them in a metal container.
4. Check for gas leaks on your grill
Before the season’s first barbecue, check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and then turning on the gas. If there is a gas leak, the solution will bubble. Other signs of a gas leak include the smell of gas near the barbecue or a flame that won’t light.
5. If the flame goes out, wait to re-light
If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it.
6. Take care around the grill
Never leave a lit grill unattended. Don’t allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Never try to move a lit or hot grill, and remember the grill will stay hot for at least an hour after use.
7. Be careful with charcoal starter fluid
If you use a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid. If the fire starts to go out, don’t add any starter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. Consider using a charcoal chimney starter, which uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid.
8. Wear the right clothing
Clothing can easily catch fire, so be sure your shirt tails, sleeves or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill.
- Be ready to put out the fire
Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out grease fire.
- Be careful of steam when opening foil parcels
- Remember that the metal parts of a barbecue can become hot – don’t try to move it until it has cooled down
- Make sure the barbecue is fully extinguished before you leave it
- Take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue, or barbecue coals – ensure they are cold before placing them in a bin.