Backyard barbecuing out on the grill on a hot summer day is probably one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately, everything comes with risks and a backyard barbecue can turn into a natural disaster if you don’t take the proper precautions. Here are a few grilling safety tips for an enjoyable barbecue.
1. Location. Set up your grill away from your home and away from high-traffic areas with kids or pets. Make sure the ground you’re grilling on is level and lock or block the wheels on the grill so it’s unable to move.
2. Check For Gas Leaks. If you are using a gas grill, check for possible gas leaks. Rub soapy water on the gas hose, then turn the gas on. If you see bubbles, this means there’s a leak in the hose. Buy a new hose before using your grill.
3. Instructions. Make sure to read your manual and follow safety instructions before lighting up your grill. Grills, gas or coal, and smokers all have specific ranges of motion. Don’t assume that your new grill operates exactly like your old one.
4. Fire Safety. Fire is a destructive force to be reckoned with. Every year, grills and smokers cause thousands of fires and hundreds of injuries. One of the most important things to have on hand when grilling is a fire extinguisher. It’s also important to know how to control your fire. You need to know how to cut fuel supplies, extinguish a fire, and call the fire department. Keep an eye on the fire when using your grill at all times.
5. Smoke. While part of the cookout experience is the smoke, too much smoke can be hazardous. Smoke from your grill contains carbon monoxide and other dangerous substances. Keep small children away from the smoke because the younger you are when you’re exposed to it, the worse the outcome. So, enjoy the smell of the smoke from a distance.
6. Use Grill Air Vents. When coals are covered with gray ash, they are ready to cook. Use your grill’s air vents if your coals aren’t heating up. Avoid using chemical charcoal starter on already lit coals, the fluid could catch fire. Make sure you don’t stir your coals around either, this will only deposit sparks and ash on the surface of your grill.
7. Gas Safety. The most common reason for gas grill fires is obstruction in the path of the fuel. This usually happens in areas of your grill that you can’t see. Regularly inspect your gas grill for problems. If you discover any problems, turn off your gas and grill immediately.
8. Flare-Ups. Flares happen when juice from the meat drops on the hot coals below. For the most part, flare-ups are harmless but if they start to get out of control just cover the grill.
9. Child Safety. Many children want to be around the grill when it’s on out of curiosity. However, they are unaware of how hot a grill can get. Keep children away from the grill. A better option would be to grill away from people.
10. First Aid. Always keep a first aid kit on hand, especially if there are going to be children around. Make sure your kit is stocked with updated products.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Loewy Law Firm in Austin, Texas. Trisha wants to start grilling but wants to know the safety precautions first.