It’s barbecue season! Unfortunately, it’s also peak grill fire season – July accounts for about 18% of grill fires. After all, that nifty tool that creates a tasty meal on hot summer nights is also a glaring fire hazard if you don’t deal with it properly.
And while you do want a bit of fire to turn your meat from raw to delicious, nothing ruins a beautiful summer night quite as fast as a house fire.
Don’t let your barbecue end on a sour note. Here are a few essential grilling safety tips to ensure the fire stays where it belongs.
Keep Control of the Fire
It should sound abundantly obvious, but one of the key tenets of grilling safety is to keep the flames in check. Fire is the most destructive force in the universe and you are actively inviting it into your cookout.
Gas grills are the most common culprit, implicated in 8,900 home fires per year. Charcoal and other solid-fuel grills are involved in 1,300 home fires per year. For gas grills, the primary problem is gas leaks.
You should never, under any circumstances, leave a lit grill unattended. The nice weather may be tempting and the kids are playing in the yard, but that’s all the more reason to keep a close eye on the fire. Children and pets can easily bump into a lit grill and get badly hurt.
Give the Grill Plenty of Space
On a related note, you should always give your grill plenty of space.
While an unlit grill can be safely stored in a garage, charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. That means completely, 100% outdoors, at least 10 feet away from your house, your garage, your deck railings, and other structures. And no, terraces, patios, courtyards, and patios don’t count as 100% outdoors – more than a quarter of home fires caused by a grill started in one of those locations.
Clean Your Grill Regularly
A clean grill looks better, works better, and most importantly is safer to use.
You use flammable materials to do your cooking, which is dangerous as-is. The problem is that the food on the grill creates even more flammable material. Grease builds up every time you cook on your grill, and charcoal grills build up ash with every use.
To counteract this, you should clean your grill after every use or before lighting it for each new use. Clear away any ash and grease and dispose of it safely.
Grilling Safety Tips Keep Your Barbecue Fun
These grilling safety tips are the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, fire safety is a complex beast, which is why it should always be your first concern anytime you decide to cook with a grill.
Make sure to check out our blog for more essential fire safety tips to keep the whole family safe this summer, like this post on how to use a fire extinguisher or these techniques to prevent workplace fire hazards (if you happen to be hosting an office cookout).