Whether it’s at a chilly tailgate party or a warm summer cookout, grilling is a great way to add delicious flavors to a fun get-together. While grilling has its perks, unsafe grilling can be hazardous for people and property nearby. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, about 9,600 house fires are started by grills each year on average, and 82 percent of those grills are fueled by gas. Fortunately, many of these can be prevented.
Before you light up the grill, review these 10 safety tips so you can ensure your family and friends stay safe this grilling season.
1. Grill at a safe distance
Always use your grill outdoors on a flat surface at least 10 feet from the house, awnings, tree branches, deck railings, eaves or other overhangs.
2. Never leave the grill unattended
A fire or gas-related emergency can occur in just seconds. Be sure you’re within view of your grill while it’s lit in case of an emergency.
3. Have a fire extinguisher nearby
Having a fire extinguisher within close range in an emergency can be a lifesaver, especially in a grease or cooking oil fire, in which case water won’t help.
4. Keep children and pets three feet away
Create a “grill safety zone” for kids by drawing a three-foot circle around the grilling area with sidewalk chalk. Keep pets inside or secured elsewhere in the yard.
5. Check your tank for leaks
Check the hose and connection points for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution. If you see bubbling, turn the tank and grill off and take it to the nearest U-Haul propane refill station where they can identify which parts need replacing or swap your tank.
6. Stop use when necessary
If you smell gas while using the grill, turn the tank off immediately. If the smell persists after the tank is closed, call 9-1-1.
7. Avoid loose-fitting clothing
Loose-fitting clothing can be a dangerous fashion choice for grill operators. Avoid wearing baggy jackets, shirts, scarves or other loose clothing while working the grill. Long hair should be tied back.
8. Ignite the grill with the lid open
Be sure the lid is open before turning on the gas and lighting the grill. Leaving the lid closed with the gas on allows propane to build up in the cooking chamber, which could cause a large flame when ignited.
9. Act quickly in a fire
If your grill does catch fire, close the lid and turn the propane tank off if possible, then move to a safe distance. Call the fire department if you cannot turn the tank off.
10. Clean the grill often and replace your brush
Substances like animal fat and vegetable oil can build up on grills and catch fire. Be sure to clean your grill before and after each use to prevent dangerous grease fires from sparking.
If you clean your grill with a wire grill brush, consider replacing it once per grilling season. Worn out bristles can break off the brush and remain on the grill surface, only to potentially get caught in grilled food and become ingested.
Visit uhaul.com/propane to learn more about propane and grill safety, shop for propane accessories and find a propane refill station near you.