Spring, summer and fall are the best times of year for overnight camping or day trips, picnics in the park and on the beach, and tailgating.
No matter what outdoor event you organize this year, food will surely play a major role in the festivities, and when you’re away from home, portable grills will most likely be at the center of all the activities. Fortunately, by following some simple safety tips and guidelines you, your family and friends can reduce the risk of injuries.
To start charcoal for cooking
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to ignite the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel:
- If you use a charcoal chimney, use a long match to avoid burning your fingers when lighting the paper
- If you choose to use lighter fluid, use only fluid intended for charcoal grills
- Never add charcoal starter fluid to coals or kindling that has already been ignited
- Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid except charcoal starter or lighter fluid to start a charcoal fire
- Place the grill well away from overhanging branches according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic
- Keep children and pets, and anything that can burn like food wrappers, an oven mitt or towel, at least 3-feet away from open flames and the grill
- Use long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames
To dispose of charcoal after cooking
- Before going to sleep or leaving the area, douse the fire with water and make sure the area is cool to the touch.
- Five percent of outside or unclassified grill fires occurred in a lawn, field or open area
- Empty the coals into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is used only to collect coals
- Place the container outside and away from anything that can burn
- Never empty coals directly into a trash can
- Store the charcoal starter fluid out of reach of children and away from heat source
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose.
- A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.