Grilling Time: Fire It Up Safely

Summer officially kicks off this weekend and millions of Americans will celebrate with a cookout.  Before lighting the grill do a safety check.

  • Has your grill been recalled? Check SaferProducts.gov. If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.
  • Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.
  • Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.
  • Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.

Don’t let this:
Charcoal grill with flames

Turn into this:

House on fire

Once the safety check is complete, make sure to operate the grill as safely as possible.

  • Use grills outside only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that will burn. Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning that could result in injury or death. An estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010. While almost all of the injuries were burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries were related to carbon monoxide.There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces.
  • Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and/or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
  • Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
  • Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.
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