Grilling is an extremely popular pastime over the summer months, so it comes as no wonder that July is National Grilling Month.
Many Arizonans will grill at their pool parties or over the summer holidays, like the 4th of July, but most people don’t stop to think about grilling safety measures beforehand. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that every year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling and that nearly half of all grill injuries are due to thermal burns. July is the peak month for grill fires with May, June, and August following.
With these simple tips, you will be on your way to enjoying a safe grilling season.
- The first time you use your gas grill for the grilling season, be sure to check the gas lines and valves for cracks, holes and blockages. If you find any they need to be repaired before use. It may be wise to find someone with grill expertise to check for you. The NFPA says that leaks or breaks were factors in one of every five reported grill fires in 2012.
- Liquid petroleum tanks should be stored in a secure and upright position. Don’t store extra containers under the grill. Always follow the tank expiration date recommendations.
- When using gas grills always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- If you suspect that your grill has a gas leak, do not use it until the problem has been fixed.
- Grills (gas or charcoal) should never be operated in enclosed areas like campers, tents and garages.
- When cooking on a charcoal grill you should always follow the directions on the charcoal bags. Also, you need to always make sure that the charcoal is completely extinguished before discarding.
- Grills should always be kept on level ground and at least 10 feet away from buildings, shrubs or anything that may catch fire.
- Never leave a grill unattended. Children and pets should be kept away from grills to prevent injury. There were 16,900 patients sent to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills in 2012.
- Always be ready to extinguish flames if necessary. The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA) says to use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
- Keep your grill clean. Remove grease and fat buildup from the grill and in the trays below the grill.
- When you are using a gas grill, if at any time you smell gas while you are cooking immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do NOT move the grill.
- If you use a starter fluid for charcoal, you should only use charcoal starter fluid. Once you have fire, do not add more fluid.
- Keep any flammable objects away from the grill. One out of every six home structure fires involving grills start because something like food packaging, oven mitts or dish towels were left too close to the heat.
- Wear clothing that does not have frills, hanging shirt tails, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
- Keep clear of hot grills to avoid burns. According to the HPBA the grill body remains hot for nearly an hour after being used.
*If you are grilling away from home at a campout please remember to put out flames entirely after every use and try and minimalize sparks. Arizona is especially dry in the summer and taking the proper precautions to avoid starting a brush or forest fire is very important.
Grilling is meant to be a fun experience with your family and friends and by following these tips you can help to make sure that it stays that way. Stay safe and happy grilling!
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