America has a longstanding love affair with a classic backyard barbecue. Whether the snow has barely melted or it’s blazing hot outside, people across the country will find almost any excuse to fire up their beloved grill or smoker for a delicious meal with a flame-broiled or smoky flavor.
Whether you’re entertaining a houseful of guests or grilling up a simple meal for you and the family, grill safety is a must for everyone from the first-time-cook to the grill master.
Before you fire up, be sure your backyard barbecue is hazard-free with these grill safety tips.
- Never light your grill or smoker inside the garage, workshop or other indoor space.
- Keep your grill in a well-ventilated area and at least 10 feet from your home, fences and trees or hanging branches or plants. If it’s a windy day, use extra caution and put even more space between your grill and anything that could catch on fire.
- Be sure your grill is situated on a flat, stable surface.
- If using a gas grill, check the gas line and connections before lighting the grill.
- Check burners for rust.
- Inspect tubes that extend from the burner to the control valves regularly.
- Always use a light stick or mechanical lighter to light your grill.
- If using a charcoal grill, use enough charcoal to cover the base about two inches deep.
- Allow lighter fluid to soak into charcoal for a few minutes before lighting the coals.
- Stand back when lighting the grill.
- Don’t wear loose clothing while grilling.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended.
- Use long-handled, flame retardant tools and insulated mitts when grilling.
- Never use water to put out a grease fire. Instead, spread baking soda over the flames.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill and lighter, and store lighter fluid and matches or lighters where they cannot be easily accessed.
- Allow your grill to cool completely before moving it.
- Store extra propane cylinders outdoors.
- Turn off all burners and propane cylinders when you’re done grilling.
- Allow coals to burn out completely or soak in water before emptying them into a non-combustible container.
- Wrap cool ashes in foil and place in an empty non-combustible container.
- Store unused charcoal in a metal container with a lid.
- Keep your grill clean and remove grease or fat buildup from the grates and the tray below the grill.