Fall nights are the perfect time for getting outside, firing up the grill, and cooking some delicious food. However, despite how enjoyable grilling is, it does pose some risks. Since you are using fire and combustible materials to cook your food, there is a risk of damaging your property or yourself. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, unsafe grilling practices result in about 10,600 house fires a year. If you follow these grilling safety tips, you can have a safe and fun time cooking for your friends and family.

Grill Out in the Open

This is one of the most basic grilling safety tips, but also one of the most important. Gas and charcoal grills are designed for outdoor use only. Never grill inside of an enclosed structure. Your grill should be at least 10 feet away from the home, shed, or any other building. It should also be kept away from trees. Beyond starting fires, there are other risks associated with grilling in a confined space, like suffocation from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Grilling Safety Tips for Propane

Gas is combustible and dangerous. If you use a gas grill, there are specific grilling safety tips you should follow that charcoal grill owners don’t have to worry about. Check the hose for gas leaks before your first barbecue of the year. You can perform the check by making a soap and water mixture and applying it to the hose. Turn on the gas. If you see any bubbling from the water soap mixture, you have a gas leak.

Clean Your Grill

Thoroughly cleaning your grill is part of being a responsible grill owner, and is one of the best grilling safety tips. For a charcoal grill, this requires disposing of all remnants of the charcoal after it has cooled off. Dispose of the ash and remaining small bits of charcoal inside a metal container. For both gas grills and charcoal grills, you need to scrape and clean off all the fat and grease that may have built-up on the grates. Fat and grease are flammable and can cause flare-ups.

Keep Fire Retardants on Hand

Even with your best efforts, unintended fires may still start. To prevent an emergency from getting worse, you should have fire retardants on hand to put out fires immediately. This means having a fire extinguisher close by at all times. Other options to put out a fire are baking soda or a bucket of sand that you can quickly grab. Water may not work if the flames are strong enough, and you should never use water on a grease fire.

Other Grilling Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

The list above is only a starting point for the many grilling safety tips you should keep in mind while barbecuing. For example, you should only use charcoal lighter fluid to start a fire, but you should never add it after the grill has been lit. Don’t wear loose clothing that can dangle over the grill. If the flame goes out on your propane grill, turn it off and then wait for 10 minutes before relighting it. Also, you should be sure the grill is stable. If it tips over, you could start a fire or get burned badly.

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