Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to clean off the grill and fire it up. Nothing beats the smell of grilled food, laughter between friends and family and a sunny day. A perfect day doesn’t happen on accident, but an accident can ruin a perfect day.
Preventing 100% of accidents is impossible but you can reduce the chance of a grill fire ruining your weekend. Whether you prefer charcoal or propane, the risk of a grill tipping or something catching fire remains.
Before heating the grill, check the stability of the legs. A wobbly grill presents a fire safety risk for everyone. Even if the grill seems stable despite a little shakiness, consider that someone bumping into it could easily knock it over.
Once the grill is stable, and before any food goes on, scrap anything left behind. Food from previous use may still be lingering and could present health risks. A clean grill will cook your food better and won’t mix old foods into the taste.
Some people prefer the taste of food grilled using charcoal while others prefer propane. Both fuel sources offer different advantages and risks. Charcoal is excellent for food that requires longer cooking since charcoal is long lasting. The risks of using charcoal stem from the way you start the fire. The most common starter used for charcoal is lighter fluid. Overuse of lighter fluid can be dangerous and produce the undesired amount of fire.
Propane, on the other hand, is great for foods like burgers, hot dogs, and other quickly cooked food. Most propane grills start with a flick of the switch, but that can be good and bad. Yes, the instant start is convenient, but that means a little bump could start the propane flowing presenting a dangerous situation.
Before using charcoal or propane take caution. Check Propane tanks for leaks prior to use, and all switches on the tank should be “off” when not in use. You should monitor charcoal, and store lighter fluid away from the grill.
After securing the grill and keeping fuel source out of harm’s way, the last thing to do is make sure your surroundings are secure. The grill should be away from the house to prevent a homeowners insurance claim, and children should not play near it. Pressurized cans, such as cooking spray, can explode if exposed to heat, so place them carefully.
An often not thought danger is the clothing worn by the person grilling. It’s one thing to make sure other people are careful around the grill, but making sure you are not in danger can be less obvious. Loose or baggy clothing are easily ignited if a person stands too close.