It’s that time of year again – time to break out the patio furniture and toss some hamburgers and fresh veggies on the grill!
Grilling is an extremely popular pastime, with about 75 percent of households owning at least one charcoal or gas grill. But before igniting the coals or the burners, it’s important to refresh your memory regarding proper cleaning, grill prep and usage so your dinner doesn’t turn into a charred mess – or a painful lesson in fire safety.
Food certainly tastes great cooked over a smoky grill, but working with open fire invites some risk. Grilling causes nearly 9,000 home fires each year, accidents that occur most often during the peak grilling season in July. Grill accidents cause $118 million in property damage every year and send 16,600 people to the emergency room, more than half of those for burns.
Most grillers already know some safety basics, particularly to never leave a grill unattended or to never use a grill indoors. However, barbecue safety isn’t as simple as keeping an eye on the food. The cleanliness of the grill, where it’s placed and way more all have a hand in ensuring smooth and safe operation.
HomeSquare’s tips for safe summertime (and yearlong!) grilling
- When setting up your grill, outside means outside! While you may know to never use your charcoal or gas grill indoors, you may not know that it could be dangerous to use a grill even in a semi-open area like a covered driveway. The roof structure catch fire from embers flying off a charcoal grill.
- Set up your grill away from the house, furniture or other flammable items. The fewest number of grill fires occur in an open area, so choose a spot away from your home, porch furniture, shed or other property. In case a hotdog does go up in flames, you want to be far away from sensitive areas.
- Clean the grill after every cooking. Nearly one in five grill fires begin because residual fat, old food or charred leftovers catch fire. Clean your grill after you’ve stopped cooking for the day, while it’s still hot. A very effective method is to a stiff wire brush (with a long handle), dip it in water, and scrape the grate with it to completely clear off any remaining food particles. The water will instantly turn to hot steam- that’s why a long handle is important.
- Properly and carefully extinguish charcoal fires. Stirring through charcoal or briquettes could reignite a fire you thought was extinguished. To ensure that the fire is completely out, close the grill lid and shut its vents. Wait until the grill is cool to the touch before dumping. This could take up to 48 hours, so be patient – and don’t forget to clean the grill after it’s emptied!
- Buy a fire extinguisher. Little flare-ups may occur from time to time, and these could be managed with an at-home fire extinguisher. Make sure your extinguisher is a Class ABC, B or K – ABC and B are ideal for smaller grease fires, while K can extinguish a larger one. Contact your local emergency authorities if the fire become unmanageable.
- Clean all parts of the grill thoroughly. It’s important clean all the parts of your gas grill regularly. This includes the burners and cooking crates, as well as cleaning out all the accumulated ash and food. This can be a messy job; HomeSquare is happy to help!
At HomeSquare, we always remind our customers to trust their gut if they feel something may be out of their control. If you smell gas, if a flare-up gets out of control or if your property catches fire, seek safety and call 911 right away.
Taking some basic precautions around the grill ensures that you, your guests and your property remain safe while enjoying long summer nights filled with delicious food and even sweeter memories. HomeSquare wishes you and your family and safe and delicious summer full of barbecue goodness!