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. In the right hands, propane grills are considerably safe. But unsafe propane 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, as long as grill masters keep propane grill safety in mind at all times.
Before you light up the grill, review these 10 propane grill safety tips so your family and friends stay safe this grilling season.
1. Grill in a safe area
Always use your grill outdoors on a flat surface at least 10 feet from awnings, tree branches, deck railings, eaves or other overhangs. Even well-ventilated areas like an outdoor patio may not be safe if there is a patio roof or awning in place. Never use a propane grill in a garage.
2. Never leave the grill unattended
A fire or propane tank-related emergency can occur in just seconds. Be sure you’re within view of your grill while the grill is on so you can act quickly in case of an emergency.
3. Have a fire extinguisher nearby
Be sure to have a working fire extinguisher nearby so you can safely and effectively put out a propane grill fire. If you don't have one, baking soda, salt and sand can also be used for extinguishing a propane grill fire. Do not use water to put out the flame, as this can make the fire worse.
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. This way children can clearly see what area needs to be avoided. Keep pets inside or secured elsewhere in the yard.
5. Check your tank for leaks beforehand
Check the hose and connection points for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose before you use the grill. If you see bubbling when the propane is running, turn the tank and grill off and take it to the nearest U-Haul propane refill station to have your leaking parts replaced or swap your tank.
6. Stop using the grill when necessary
Remember, it's not normal to smell propane while grilling. 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 wearing 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. Turn the gas on with the lid open
Be sure the lid is open before turning on the gas knob and lighting the grill. Leaving the lid closed while the gas is on could allow propane to build up in the cooking chamber, which could cause a large, hazardous flame when ignited.
9. Act quickly in a fire
If your grill does catch fire, act quickly by following these steps to put out a propane grill fire:
- Turn the propane tank off if possible.
- Use a fire extinguisher to douse any remaining flame.
- Close the lid and move to safe distance.
- If you can't turn the tank off, put the flame out then call 9-1-1 from a safe distance.
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.