Warm weather and barbeques go hand in hand. So let's get the grill ready to go!
There's nothing quite like a burger, steak or grilled veggies on a warm summer evening. Barbeques do bring new hazards along with them though. Thousands of house fires are started each year because of barbeques. But, luckily there are some things you can do before, during and after you are grilling to help keep the hazards to a minimum.
Here are some barbeque safety tips that will keep you and your family safe for grilling season:
Your barbecue has probably been sitting unused for a long period of time. Since it probably hasn't been used since the snow fell, there are some things that you should do before you fire it up for the first time this year.
- Check for and clean up any abnormal items in your barbeque. Have birds or mice decided to make your grill their home? Is there a large amount of grease build up left over from last season? Before you start anything else, open your grill and look for anything that should be cleaned or removed. If there is anything abnormal, take the time to clean it up.
- Check for blocked burners or metal tubes near burners. Now is the time to take a closer look at your burners. Is anything blocked or cracked? In order to get evenly cooked food, it's important that your burners be in good working order. If anything is in need of repair, you can replace your burners (and most barbeque parts) at your local hardware or barbeque store.
- Check for damaged or leaking fittings and hoses. Since the hoses are what connects your propane or natural gas to the burners, it's important to make sure that they aren't leaking or damaged. If you spot any cracks or leaks in your hoses, make sure that you replace them before you start grilling this year.
- Check your cylinder. If you use propane for your barbeque, it's important to make sure that it is still in good working order.
- Inspect your barbeque brushes. If you are using a barbeque brush with metal bristles, make sure you take a close look at it before using it. The bristles on the brush can become loose and fall on to the grill or get into food.
- Properly position the barbeque. If everything is in tip-top shape, then you are almost ready to start grilling. Make sure your barbeque is set up outside in a level, well-ventilated area. It should also be far away from combustible materials, windows, and doors.
You've marinated the steaks, prepared the hamburger patties and seasoned your veggies. Here are a few tips to keep things safe while you are grilling.
- Keep the lid open when lighting. Open the lid of your grill and then turn on the fuel source, such as natural gas or propane. This will help make sure that the gas isn't building up inside of the barbeque. You need enough fuel to start the flame. Too much though and you might have a bigger flame than you bargained for.
- Never leave a lit grill unattended. It may be tempting to put everything on the grill, shut the lid and walk away, but it's important that you keep an eye on everything you are cooking. Unlike an oven or stovetop, a grill is cooking food over an open flame. There is a possibility of your food catching on fire or dropping into the flames and causing a fire risk as well. Stay close and monitor your meal the whole time the barbeque is in use.
- Use long-handled cooking utensils and heat-resistant mitts. Barbeques get hot. Really hot. To reduce the risk of burns, make sure you are using proper tools that have been developed for grilling.
That food smells delicious! You're ready to dig into your meal, but there are still a few more things to keep an eye on.
- Shut off the gas valve. First of all, make sure you shut off your fuel source. Even if the barbeque burners are off, it's a good idea to close the valves. Your fire risk drops significantly when the fuel sources has been properly shut off.
- Let the gas remaining in connecting hose burn off. Now that you have shut off the gas valve, wait a few moments before turning off the burners. This allows any remaining gas to completely burn off. If there is no fuel left in the valves, then your fire risk drops considerably.
- Close the burner controls. Finally, you can turn those burners off. With everything shut up tight, you have significantly lowered the fire hazard of your grill.
Now that you have some quick tips for how to properly look after your grill before, during, and after you barbeque you are ready to kick off the barbeque season. Enjoy!