How many times have you stepped outside just in time for an over-the-fence ambush from the rich, hunger-stoking smoke of a neighbor’s outdoor grill? But before you start up your own backyard grill, be sure to review some simple grilling safety precautions that will ensure that your relaxing BBQ doesn’t turn into a fiery misadventure.
1. Don’t burn the house down. It sounds obvious, but it can still happen! Position your grill away from the house, fencing, arbors and overhangs that could potentially catch fire. It’s not enough to simply protect these items from flames; they also need protection from heat radiated by the grill. Some siding products will melt from the heat, so even if your house doesn’t actually catch fire, you can still cause damage.
2. Inspect your grill and any fuel tanks and attachments regularly. Store these items out of direct sunlight to prevent seals from deteriorating and causing leaks. There have been incidents of grills and tanks exploding with disastrous results. To make matters worse, the grills were too close to the house and the gases and flames went into the house vents, causing the house to catch fire, as well—talk about adding insult to injury.
3. It goes without saying that children and pets should be kept as far from the grill as possible. They are energetic, excitable and clumsy when at play and both are oblivious to the danger that can come from the inferno you’re grilling their hotdogs on. If something hot drops from the grill, beat your pet to the punch to protect them from burning their mouths.
4. Keep a water hose or fire extinguisher close at hand and easily accessible. If you have a garden hose spray nozzle, simply turn the water on and let the hose rest nearby in case it’s needed. Fire extinguishers should be kept at a convenient but safe distance from the grill.
It is important to remember that grilling safety extends beyond fire safety. Food poisoning is no picnic. Remember to monitor cold foods, especially those containing mayonnaise, using plenty of ice to keep things cold. Now it’s time for a safe and relaxing gathering!