BBQ Safety – What Every Griller Needs to Know 

Grilling BarbecueNothing says summertime like firing up the grill for a barbecue with family and friends.  However, grilling can be dangerous.  Fire departments put out almost 10,000 fires a year that were started by a grill, hibachi, or barbecue.   Between 2012 and 2016, an average of 16,000 people went to the emergency room due to injuries involving grills.  Often, these injuries involve a child bumping up against a hot grill and sustaining serious burns. 

At The O’Brien Firm, we wish you a safe and happy summer.  Following these grilling safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) can help keep you safe while you enjoy your summer barbeques.   

Before You Grill 

Whether you are using a charcoal grill or a propane grill, there are steps you should take before you fire up the grill.  First, the NFPA recommends grills, whether charcoal or propane, should only be used outdoors.  (Note: “outdoors” does not mean “in the garage.”)  Your grill should be positioned a safe distance from the home and deck railings.  You should not use a grill under the eaves of the home or garage, or below overhanging tree branches.  

Inspect your grill for cleanliness.  Make sure no birds or bees used your grill as their home for the winter months. 

Do not leave a lit grill unattended for any length of time.  Keep children and pets well away from hot grills, both during cooking and afterwards, as it cools.  Before using, make certain the grill is clean, removing fat and grease from the actual grill itself as well as the trays below the grill.   

Check for Gas Leaks 

If you are using a propane grill it is a good idea to check for leaks before using the grill.  The NFPA has created a video to illustrate the process.  First, check the connection points between the gas tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, as well as where the hose connects to the burners.  If these connections are loose, tighten them.  Next, check the gas hose for leaks.  Using children’s bubbles or a dish washing liquid mixed with water, apply the solution to the length of the hose with a brush or spray bottle.  Turn on the cylinder and watch for bubbles.  If you see bubbles, this is evidence of a leak.  Turn the gas off and recheck the connections.  If you turn the gas on again and see no bubbles, proceed to grilling!  If the bubbles remain, have your grill serviced by a professional before using it.   

When Grilling with Propane

If you smell gas during grilling, turn off the gas tank and the burners.  If the leak stops immediately, have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  However, if the smell of gas remains, make certain everyone moves away from the grill.  Do not move the grill.  Call the fire department immediately and explain what is going on. 

When Grilling with Charcoal 

If you use starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid.  Do not use charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquid, such as gasoline, to add to an active fire.  Make certain when not in use the charcoal fluid is away from heat sources.  If using an electric charcoal starter, make certain any extension cord used is designed for outdoor use.   

Stay Safe and Enjoy Your Summer 

At The O’Brien Firm, we wish you a safe and happy summer, filled with time spent with family and friends.