BBQ Safety Tips

Socializing with friends and family while enjoying juicy burgers is a backyard pastime. But each year, these backyard gatherings cause property damage and injury. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association and National Fire Protection Association have both compiled some common-sense advice for all of us to consider. Next time you fire up the grill, keep these BBQ safety tips in mind to ensure you and your friends and family stay safe.

Tips for Safe Barbecuing

  1. Keep your grill outside.
    Gas and charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide and other dangerous toxins. Always operate your grill outside, away from your house, trees and deck railings. You want the smoke to have an unobstructed outlet from which to escape.

  2. Read your owner’s manual.
    Your grill manufacturer provides an owner’s manual for a reason. Don’t bury it in a kitchen drawer and forget about it. You should always familiarize yourself with the correct operating procedures of your grill before using. Make sure your grill is assembled correctly, all parts are secure and the grill is stable before cooking.

  3. Protect yourself.
    Grilling gloves and utensils with long handles will keep your hands and arms safe when dealing with heat and flames. Avoid wearing loose or hanging clothing that could inadvertently come in contact with the flames.

  4. Clean thoroughly.
    Keeping your grill clean not only makes your food taste better, but reduces the risk of flare-ups. If you do encounter a flare-up, spread the coals out with a utensil on a charcoal grill. Dial down the heat using the knobs on a gas grill. Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand or water nearby in case you need to put out a fire. Baking soda can help as well.

  5. Man the fire.
    Don’t leave the grill unattended when flames are still present or the grill is still hot. Keep children and pets at a safe distance away — even after you’re finished cooking. The grill will remain hot for a while.

  6. Start a gas grill with the lid open.
    Lighting your grill with a closed lid can cause a dangerous buildup of gas.

  7. Be responsible with lighter fluid.
    We recommend avoiding lighter fluid all together. But if you must, only use charcoal lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill. Don’t keep adding it after the fire is started. A better option is a chimney starter, which doesn’t require any lighter fluid.

  8. Check the gas lines.
    The fuel lines of gas grills can become pinched, twisted, clogged, torn, melted or otherwise manipulated. When this happens, the risk of a fire is escalated. Conduct a gas leak test at the beginning of every grilling season to ensure everything is in good working order. Don’t delay if you ever smell gas while cooking — step away quickly and call the fire department. Always inspect your propane tank for signs of damage or wear before using.

  9. Use the right cords.
    If you have an electric grill or electric accessories, only use an outdoor extension cord that is properly grounded.

  10. Shut your grill down correctly.
    For a gas grill, this means turning off the burners and the fuel supply. For a charcoal grill, wait for the coals to stop burning and cool down completely. Always wait for your grill to cool off before attempting to move it.