Safety & Maintenance Tips for Grilling at Home

Placement is Key

BBQ on a grassy hillsideBBQ grills must be used on heatproof flooring, at least 10 feet away from buildings or anything flammable. Barbequing should never be done inside, not even in an opened garage or tent. It is dangerous to use grills on patios, awnings, or balconies because of their proximity to buildings. It's also important to make sure that the barbeque is set up in a stable location, so it won't fall over.

Ventilation

Leaving enough room for a cross-breeze keeps smoke from building up into a hazardous carbon monoxide miasma. Leave the grill in an area that has plenty of open space for the smoke to dissipate.

Checklist

Thoroughly examine the grill before barbequing for any cracks, holes, or damage. Be sure all the pieces of the barbeque grill fit together properly.

Cleanliness

Be sure that your BBQ grill is fully clean before and after cooking. Any leftover ash, charcoal, or grill residue needs to be brushed away and discarded. If your barbeque model comes with a drip pan, it should be emptied. A grill pad or splatter mat placed under the grill can catch any mess that the drip pan misses. This is important because build-up on the grate can cause fires.

Follow Instructions

It's important to read the manual and instructions provided by the manufacturer before beginning your grilling odyssey. Even though it's a drag, bear in mind that thousands of people are injured every year as a result of BBQ accidents. Also, read the fine print because misusing your barbeque can void any owner's warranty you might have purchased.

Children

Boy giving thumbs up because he's safe around barbeques!Be especially aware of children when barbequing since they are the most likely to be injured from a grill. Even if you don't have kids yourself, there's a good chance that you might use your BBQ grill when other's little tykes are around.

If you have kids, it's a good idea to give them a tutorial of the grill so they understand what makes it dangerous. Establish a "safety zone" and caution all children to stay away from the barbeque.

Obey the Heat

A barbeque can remain hot up to an hour after being turned off. You should never attempt to move or lift your grill while it's on or still cooling.

Protect Yourself

Barbeques get extremely hot! Guard yourself from the heat using heavy duty gloves, long cooking utensils, and snug clothing. Clothing that hangs can catch fire easily, so avoid billowy sleeves, hanging apron strings, and long shirttails.

Fire SafetyFlames!

It's not a bad idea to keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or at least 16 quarts of water handy, in case of flare-ups or accidents. In the event of a fire:
  • Propane BBQ: Turn off the burners, and shut off the tank valve if you can reach it safely.
  • Electric BBQ: Unplug or turn off electricity. 
  • Charcoal BBQ: Close lid over the grill
  • Grease Fires: Use a fire extinguisher to damper flames. Never extinguish using water because this will cause fiery flare ups.

Alcohol Awareness

Don't drink and grill! Seriously, alcohol and BBQs can be a deadly combination. Besides impairing the grillmaster's motor skills and synapses, plus alcohol is extremely flammable!

For the Gas Barbeque...

  • Propane Tanks: Inspect the cylinder of the tank for visible dents, leaks, or rust. If you see any damage, you should replace it.
  • Gas Pressure: Be aware of the temperature wherever the propane tank is stored, transported, and used. Keeping the propane container in a warm area increases the pressure of the gas and could cause an explosion.
  • Recycle: Do not throw away your propane tank in the trash; municipal and private programs are available for recycling. For disposable propane tanks, use all of the gas before tossing.

For the Charcoal Barbeque...

  • Lighter Fluid: Only use lighter fluid on unlit charcoal briquettes, not on coals that have already been lit. Never pour fluid directly onto an open flame, the fluid path could ignite the entire container! 
  • Charcoal: Heated coal pieces get extremely hot, never try to handle coals or ashes. After BBQing, place the ashes in a metal container with a lid, and mix them with water. This mixture should sit for several days before being disposed of in accordance with state regulations.

For the Electric Barbeque...

  • Electric Requirements: All extension cords and wall sockets must be able to handle the amperage of the electric grill. Otherwise the circuit board can become overwhelmed and start an electric fire.
  • Combustible Materials: Anything flammable should be kept at least 10 feet away from the grill when it's in use.