It's that time of year to get out the grill and do some cooking. Do you like grilling with charcoal or gas? It doesn't matter what side of the debate you're on, they both have one thing in common - fire!
Cedar Park Fire Fighters want to remind you to be safe during the summer cookout season. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year.
The following safety tips are designed to guide you through the grilling process. Remember, anytime you work with fire, there's always a chance of getting burned - so, take precautions. Common sense and planning will prevent injuries and property damage.
Read the Owner's Manual
Always read the owner's manual before using your grill and follow specific usage, assembly, and safety procedures. Contact the grill manufacturer if you have specific questions. (Be sure to locate your grill's model number and the manufacturer's consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual for future reference.)
General Safety Tips
Grills must be used outdoors. Use of grills indoors or in any enclosed spaces such as tents, garages, etc. pose both a fire hazard and risk of exposure to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
- Position the grill 15 feet away from siding, deck railing, other combustibles, and out from under eaves or overhanging vegetation.
- Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area - declare a 3-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
- Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by heat.
- Only use approved charcoal lighter fluid for starting the grill.
- Never use gasoline or flammable liquids to light charcoal.
- Do not add lighter fluid to coals that have already been ignited.
- Keep unused charcoal dry. Wet charcoal becomes a fire hazard as it dries out through the process of spontaneous combustion.
- Before disposing of charcoal ashes, allow them to cool thoroughly. Ashes can still be hot for as long as seven days, so always keep them either in the grill or in a metal container until cool, then stir the ashes before disposal to make sure they are completely out.
Liquid Propane (LP) Gas Grills
- Inspect the gas cylinder hose and connections for leaks before using the grill for the first time each year.
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose and all connections; any leaks will be quickly revealed in the form of bubbles.
- If you discover a leak either by smell or by the soap test and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank valve and the grill. If the leak stops, have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking or see any fire outside the grill box, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.