Americans love their barbecues. But fires caused by grills kill 10 people and injure 160 in the U.S. each year.
While summer barbecues are packed with traditional summer fun, they can lead to injuries, especially when alcohol is involved.
The truth is, grilling safety is about more than controlling the flames. Summer barbecues can lead to all kinds of injuries from food poisoning to knife injuries.
Practicing these grilling safety tips will ensure your summer cookout is a blast, but not literally.
Choose a Safe Location
Both charcoal and gas grills are only designed to be used outdoors. Not only do you need to be outside, but you need to grill away from structures like buildings or houses.
Grilling on a patio, courtyard, terrace, balcony, or open porch can lead to fires. Keep an eye out for hanging tree branches near your grill.
Clean Your Grill
If you have a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are completely cooled off before throwing them in a metal container.
Clean your grill every time you use it to remove grease and fat buildup from the grill and the tray below it.
Stabilize Your Grill
Always set your grill up on a stable surface. You don’t want your grill to tip over.
Use a splatter mat or grill pad underneath your grill.
Choose Clothing Wisely
While grilling, wear clothing that doesn’t hang over the grill such as apron strings, shirttails, or sleeves.
The same goes for long hair. These materials can easily catch on fire.
Watch the Grill
Never leave the grill unattended while it is lit. Keep kids and pets away from it.
Wait until it is cool before trying to move it.
If the flame goes out on a gas grill, turn the grill and gas off and wait five minutes before trying to relight it.
If you are lighting a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starting fluid. If the fire is starting to go out, don’t add any flammable liquids or additional starter fluid.
A charcoal chimney starter than uses newspaper instead of starter fluid is a safer way to grill.
Check for Leaks
If you have a propane grill, check for leaks in the gas tank hose before grilling.
You can do this by using soap and water on the hose and then turning on the gas. A gas leak will cause the solution to bubble. Also, if you smell gas or your flame won’t light, you might have a gas leak.
When Grilling Safety Isn’t Enough
Even if you follow these grilling safety tips, accidents do happen.
Be prepared to put out a fire should one occur. A grease fire should be extinguished with baking soda and never water. Any other fires can be put out with a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand.
If an injury does happen, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment.