As the weather gets warmer, we start spending more time outside. Grilling outdoors is a classic spring and summertime activity! It’s no surprise then that as grill usage goes up, the number of emergency calls related to grill fires or burns goes up, too. Take a few simple precautions before you start your cookout season this year and enjoy safe grilling all spring and summer long.
1. Make sure your grill is stable and setup properly.
Your first step when you’re getting ready to grill should always be to make sure your grill is set up properly. Don’t set up your grill on a steep slope, loose material, or uneven and rickety surfaces. Set up in an area with plenty of clear headspace without any overhangs as well. Also make sure that you’re going to be cooking a decent distance away from any other structures. Not only can it be a fire risk to grill too close to other structures, the smoke from your grill can also cause discoloration, staining, and smoke damage!
2. Check for leaks BEFORE you light.
If you’re using a propane or gas grill, make sure you check for gas leaks before you light it! The easiest way to do this is to test using soapy water. Apply a mixture of soapy water all over the hose, joints, and connections. Next, turn on the gas. Do NOT light the grill at this point. Check all over the hose and connections for new bubbles forming — this indicates a gas leak. Another common sign of a propane leak is a strong smell of gas and trouble getting the grill to light and stay lit.
3. Keep your grill clean and in good repair.
Ideally, you should always clean your grill out at the end of the regular grilling season. You should also keep your grill covered and dry during the off season. This will help prevent rust from forming, and stop debris from accumulating inside. Even if you take these precautions, you should give your grill a good once over before using it. Check for charcoal or grease buildup, holes or rust, and debris. Repair any damage that you find before you use your grill.
4. Practice general fire safety.
These are a few general fire safety tips that you should use any time you’ll be around a fire.
- Make sure that you’ve got everything you would need to put your fire out before you light it.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher close at hand when you’re grilling or using a fireplace.
- If you’ll be operating the grill or fire pit, wear well-fitting clothes that wont hang over into the fire.
- Children and pets should never be left around a grill, fire pit, or fireplace unattended.
- Shut off the gas, wait till your charcoal has cooled, or fill in your fire pit when you’re done cooking. Don’t walk away from a fire that is still burning!