Grilling season is upon us! Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a first time flipper, you know that grilled food in the summer is bliss. But to enjoy that bliss we have to remember to grill safely. Here are some simple grill safety tips to ensure that you and your family stay safe as you wow them with your mastery of the ancient art of cooking over an open flame. Use caution, planning, and common sense to have a safe and delicious summer at the grill.
Grill Safety Tips
1. Do not let children operate or play near your grill.
Small children may not understand that a grill is hot and might get curious enough to touch it. Some older children may get a little too rowdy and knock the grill over as they play. The key to avoiding accidents like these is to enact a grill safety rule against playing near the grill.
2. Keep the grill area free of flammable materials.
Keep all flammable items at least 5 feet away from your grill. Don’t lean your charcoal bag up against or near your grill while you light it. Keep food packaging on a separate table instead of on the grill shelves if you have a gas grill.
3. Only grill in a well-ventilated space.
Never grill in an enclosed space like a carport, garage, porch, covered patio, or under a balcony or deck. This grill safety tip will keep you from starting a fire and protect your lungs from smoke inhalation. Keep your grill at least 3 feet away from any walls. Don’t grill near any appliances with pilot lights.
Avoid this because you could lose control of the fire and ignite the fuel tank. This is not only unsafe, but it can ruin your grill by clogging up the burners.
5. If you live in an apartment, check with the manager to learn the requirements and fire codes for using a grill in your building.
If you’re allowed, use outside on the ground floor 3 feet away from any walls or rails. Do not grill on or under balconies made of wood. The safety of everyone in your building depends on your grill safety habits.
6. Always keep your grill lid open while you start your fire.
A buildup of gas inside a closed grill can create an explosion if it ignites. Even if it’s windy out, it’s not worth risking injury to try to start your grill with the lid down.
7. When you’re not using your grill, make sure all the knobs and valves are turned off.
This grill safety rule gets broken a lot. It’s easy to forget to turn off the valve on top of the gas tank. It’s also always tempting to just skip it so we won’t have to crouch and reach down there to turn it off. Turning everything off is worth it; a gas leak can be fatal.
8. Pick a place for the grill and leave it there from the second the fire starts until it’s cold.
You risk a lot of things by trying to move your grill while it’s running or hot. With a charcoal grill, you risk spilling red-hot coals that can cause severe burns. With a gas grill, you risk breaking the valve connection between your valve and tank, which could damage your grill and even cause an explosion. While it’s not a grill safety issue, you risk your food rolling or sliding off the grates if you try to move your grill while you’re cooking.
9. Use long-handled barbecue utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
They’re also much more comfortable to use when you’re dealing with a hot fire.
10. If you notice grease or other hot material dripping from the grill onto the valve, hose or regulator, turn off the gas supply at once.
Find the cause and correct it. Then clean and inspect valve, hose and regulator before you start grilling again. To perform a leak test, fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and dish soap and spray it on the hose, valve, and regulator. Any leaks will make small bubbles. Never use a match to check for leaks. If you detect a leak, don’t try to light the grill again until it’s fixed.
11. Only use charcoal lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill.
Gasoline and kerosene are explosive. Never use them to start your grill. Also, never use lighter fluid to tray to start a gas grill. If your grill is not starting without lighter fluid, it needs to be repaired.