Yes, it really is barbecue season again. And it’s also the beginning of grilling fire season, too. An alarming study by the National Fire Protection Agency in 2013 found gas grills cause an annual average of 7,200 home fires. That’s not the only danger. In 2009, nearly 18,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms with burns and blisters from grilling-related accidents.
Sound risky? It doesn’t have to be. The main ingredient for safe outdoor cooking is common sense. Take a few a minutes to check out these safety tips and it could prevent what happened to one family in Broadview Heights, Ohio when they looked out the window and saw five foot flames leaping from their gas barbecue. “The whole thing was engulfed in flames on the outside,” recalled Julie Hill. “The knobs melted off, the shelf melted off.”
Don’t let that happen at your home. Before you light up that propane barbecue grill this year, check out these tips and reminders, just to be safe.
- Place your grill at least 10 feet from any structure.
- Look up to be sure nothing overhangs the grill from above.
- Never walk away from a burning grill.
- Turn off the grill. Let it cool. And put it away after each use.
- Clean out the grease pan regularly.
- Check the hose from the gas tank for leaks before using it for the first time each season by applying a light soap and water solution to it. A propane leak will release bubbles. If it leaks and there is no flame, turn off the gas at both the tank and grill. If the leak stops, have the grill serviced by a professional before using it. If it doesn’t, call the fire department.
- Check the grill itself for leaks at the start of the season. Look for deterioration, proper assembly, and burner obstructions.
- Once the LP cylinder is connected, keep the grill outside in a well-ventilated place with the cylinder valve turned to the OFF position (clockwise).
- If storing the grill indoors, remove the LP cylinder and store it outside. Never store a propane cylinder indoors. Keep it upright where temperatures won’t exceed 120 degrees.
- Never disconnect the cylinder when the grill is in use or hot.
- Check for leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the cylinder.
- When lighting the grill, keep the lid open to prevent a flash-off from gas build-up and don’t lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking.
Lastly, if a burner won’t light, shut off the gas, leave the grill lid open and wait five minutes before trying again. If the burners go out during operation, turn the both cylinder and grill valves to OFF. Open the lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight the grill.
Propane gas grills are safe and easy to use. With these tips and some common sense, Freedom Insurance Agency wishes you a delicious and safe barbecuing season!