Grilling out with family and friends is a Memorial Day weekend tradition. However, grilling can be dangerous if safety isn’t your top priority.
I’ve read numerous articles, and watched the video of Hannah Storm, ESPN Sports Center anchor, telling her story about the danger of re-igniting a gas grill if the flame goes out. The reason why this is dangerous is because of the gas buildup and the explosion that can occur.
Even though I knew this, I still proceeded to ignite my gas grill after the flame went out this past weekend. The thought I had was, “It will never happen to me”. I was lucky because the flame explosion stayed in my grill; however, the heat was tremendous and it did singe my eye lashes and eyebrows. While my family thought this was humorous, it really was a dangerous situation that could have been a lot worse.
Here are some grilling safety tips to keep you and your family safe this weekend.
Gas Grill Safety Tips
• If this is the first time you’re using your gas grill this year, inspect grill hoses for cracks, holes, and leaks by using a soapy water solution.
• Never use a grill indoors, including in your garage. A grill should be kept at least ten feet from your home, cottage, or camper.
• If you need to get your LP tank filled for the weekend, make sure you transport it in a safe upright position. Do not leave your filled tank in your vehicle or its trunk, especially if it’s sunny and hot. I have an SUV so I use the hooks that are in the back, as well as a ratchet strap to keep it standing upright.
• If the flame goes out, never try to re-ignite it right away. Turn off the gas, open your grill cover, and let it ventilate for at least 15 minutes. Propane is heavier than air and does not immediately dissipate into the air.
• If you have a catch tray or grease pan below your grill, clean it on a regular basis.
• When you’re done using your grill, make sure the burners are turned off and the LP tank valve is closed.
• Make sure the grill is cool before putting on the cover or wheeling it back in your garage or shed.
Charcoal Grill Safety Tips
• Make sure to put your grill on a flat level surface at least ten feet away from your home, cottage, or camper. The initial flame on a charcoal grill can be quite high.
• Be sure to grill in a well-ventilated area. Burning charcoal gives off carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be deadly if you’re exposed to high levels of it.
• Do not use gasoline to start a charcoal fire. While using lighter fluid is the most common way to start your grill, I recommend instant light charcoal or an electric charcoal starter. These two alternatives mitigate the chance of an explosion.
• Make sure the charcoal is grey and has a nice orange glow underneath before cooking. This will ensure that the lighter fluid has burned off, preventing your food from tasting like lighter fluid.
• When you’re finished grilling, place the cover on the grill and close the vents. Experts recommend letting the ashes cool for at least 48 hours before disposing of them in a safe non-combustible container.
To print out a grilling safety tip sheet from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), click here. I recommend hanging it in a place near your grill as a reminder to stay safe.
Do you have any tips or related information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you; please share them in the box below.