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We are well in the thick of grilling season and barbeques all across America are spilling out smoke, delicious smells, and flames. Whether you’re grilling in the backyard or out camping in the great outdoors, it’s important to take steps to ensure that you are being fire safe. That goes doubly if you are sporting a beard this summer as the added hair can be a potential fire hazard if you’re not careful. Having a BBQ is one of the best parts of celebrating the nice summer weather, but let’s not kid ourselves, they are no joke! Between 2013 and 2017 over 19,000 people were admitted annually to the ER because of injuries related to backyard grills. Gas grills account for an average of 8,700 home fires each year alone! Let’s look at some fire safety tips that you can use for your next barbeque session, whether it’s on your patio or on a campground.
A lot of the fire hazard danger comes from where the bbq grill is located in your backyard. Make sure that your grill is at least three feet away from the side of your home and that it isn’t directly under low hanging tree branches or house eaves. If possible, make sure that your grill is not on a wooden deck, but if it is, then make sure to have it sit on a fireproof surface like bricks or stone blocks. That way if hot grease or coals fall down directly under the grill then it won’t land on a wood surface.
Also, before you start cooking, make sure that you have on hand an up to date fire extinguisher and a bucket of water for emergencies. It also doesn’t hurt to have a bucket of sand around as well. Sand helps to stop a grease fueled fire better than water and can help serve as a cheap backup to a fire extinguisher.
Once you have your grill situated in a safe place and with your emergency measures ready, you should also clean out your grill trap areas for leftover grease, foodstuffs, and unburnt coal. Dump all of these items into a metal container that is away from flammable materials as it can ignite if hot coals are accidentally put in it. If you have a clean and open grill each time before you start grilling then it can ensure that your grill will perform better and will be more fire safe.
Once the fun begins and you’re at the grill, make sure to keep children and pets away from the grill at all times. They can burn themselves easily on the hot surface. Make sure that you don’t use anything to start your fire besides lighter fluid that is specifically made for charcoal and wood grills. Never use gasoline or motor oil or any other accelerant not designed for cooking.
When the grill is up and running, don’t leave it unattended and make sure to put out the fire and stop grilling immediately if strong winds start to pick up as they could potentially tip over the grill or send hot coals scattering about which could start a structure fire or wildfire.
Once the food has been cooked and people are hanging out and enjoying the cool summer sunset, make sure that you douse your coal grill with at least two liters to a gallon of cold water to ensure that the coals are 100% out. Never leave a hot grill unattended or leave the house without first dousing the grill in water. If you have a propane gas grill, you can check for leaks or abrasions in your fuel line. If you see or smell a leak, then it may be time to change out your fuel system or buy a new grill entirely to be safe.
Whether or not you have a beard, it’s always a good idea to practice good grill fire safety in order to make every BBQ this summer a success. If you’re grilling safely then you can have more peace of mind and more fun out of cooking for friends and family this summer. For more information on BBQing this summer, check out this great resource from Sloane and Sons.