Grilling safety tips

Who doesn’t like grilled food? Hot and smoky grilled burgers, chicken, veggies, and many other foods can be all kinds of tasty. But grilling also requires a certain responsibility. Unattended or poorly maintained grills can be fire hazards to your home and property, and the potential consequences can be devastating.

Don’t worry, though. A little due care can help prevent fires caused by grills, and keep your grilling party safe, fun, and delicious. Here are a few tips from Rocky Mountain Catastrophe to make sure the only thing your grill heats up are those bratwursts.

First of all, propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors. Make sure your grill is placed away from your home when cooking. Don’t grill near firewood, tinder, dry grass or plants, or other material that may ignite from the grill’s heat or sparks. Grills should not be used under decks, awnings, low hanging trees, or other structures. Don’t let grease or fat build up on the grates or trays below the grill, as it can unexpectedly catch fire.

Charcoal grills can be ignited several ways, including chimney starters with newspaper, starter fluid, and electric starters. If using starter fluid, be sure you use only proper charcoal starter fluid, not gasoline or other flammable substances that may ignite much less predictably. If using an electric starter, use an extension cord to keep the grill away from your property structure. Allow the coals to completely cool after grilling, and dispose of them in a metal container.

When using propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks once a year. To check, apply soap and water to the hose, which will cause bubbles to form over any spots that leak. Smelling for any propane may also identify leaks. Propane has a distinctly unpleasant odor similar to rotten eggs or a skunk.

If bubbles or smell identify a leak, and there is no flame, turn off the grill and gas tank. If the leak stops, get the grill professionally serviced before using it again. If it does not stop, or if you smell propane while grilling, get away from the grill and call the fire department.

Of course, NEVER leave a grill unattended. Don’t let children or pets play near the grill area, or with the grill or starter fluid. Keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case, and don’t hesitate to call the fire department should things get out of hand.

These simple tips should help prevent your grill from causing an accidental fire. Don’t be afraid. Food cooked on the grill is just too tasty to avoid grilling, right? Just be careful and use these common sense tips to keep you and your property safe.

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