Do you feel that warm breeze? Spring and summer are well on their way!
Before too long, you and your family or friends will be outside enjoying the sun and warm weather. You’ll get the barbecue started by lighting the grill and grilling up some juicy burgers, brats, and hot dogs.
If you want to keep your grilling adventures delicious and fun, you must brush up on charcoal grill safety.
Each year, over 16,600 people visit the emergency room due to grilling accidents. There’s nothing worse than having your barbecue party interrupted due to an unwanted grill fire.
Fortunately, preventing a grilling accident is easy. Follow these five charcoal grill safety tips to keep your barbecues fun and safe.
Charcoal Grill Safety Maintenance
When was the last time you thoroughly checked and cleaned your grill? One of the most important grilling safety tips is to stay on top of maintaining your grill.
Start by checking the drip trays. Not all charcoal grills have these, but if yours does, make a habit of checking and emptying it before and after every grill session.
Grease and fat can build up in the trays and cause a fire if neglected. Regularly removing this grease will help prevent your grill from rusting.
If you have one of the best charcoal grills money can buy, you want it to last, right? Invest in a grill cover. A weatherproof grill cover will protect your grill from the elements along with keeping dirt and moisture out.
After you finish grilling allow the coal ashes to cool for about 48 hours. This ensures they’re completely cool and not warm enough to reignite.
If you need to dispose of them faster, carefully place the ashes in a metal container or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Soak the ashes with water and dispose of them when they completely cool. Remove old charcoal and ash before every use.
Use a Reliable Grill
A charcoal grill that’s on its last legs, literally, is a fire hazard waiting to happen. Despite its durability, your charcoal grill will need replacing.
Cracks and holes are clear signs your grill is wearing out. The firebox is the area that holds the hot burning charcoal and, therefore, the most susceptible to damage. Most fireboxes consist of durable metals but the extreme temperatures will eventually cause any material to degrade.
Most charcoal grills will last five to fifteen years with proper care. Over time, corrosion will start to form around the leg joints, along with the firebox, and on the lid. When parts corrode to the point of crumbling and start sagging, it’s time to replace your grill.
Need to replace your grill? Check out these best infrared grill options!
Knowing Where to Grill
Grill placement is a key factor in charcoal grill patio safety. You don’t want to be the next neighbor notorious for lighting their patio on fire or causing their home’s siding to melt.
Always use your charcoal grill outside and make sure the area has plenty of ventilation. Avoid grilling on decks, especially small wooden apartment decks. Wood is combustible and can easily light on fire.
Set your grill on a flat level area. Inclined areas can cause the grill to fall or roll.
The area around the grill should be clear of furniture, plants, pets, and other people. Grills produce an immense amount of heat which can cause nearby items to melt or burn.
Once you light your grill, keep an eye on it and keep it in one place. Moving a lit grill can lead to burns on you or others.
Safely Light Your Grill
Lighter fluid is a very popular choice for starting the grill. If you decide to pursue the lighter fluid route, use fluid designed for lighting grills. Only add a small amount of lighter fluid and don’t add more after you light the charcoal.
If possible, try to opt for a safer method. Chimney starters and solid wood or wax fire starters are two safer options.
Chimney starters are metal canisters that use newspapers as fuel. The newspaper ignites, heats the charcoal, and eventually transfers a small flame to the charcoal. Both fire starters and chimney starters are less likely to cause harm or start unwanted fires than lighter fluid.
When you’re ready to light your charcoal using any of the three methods mentioned above, open the grill vents. The vents supply the fire with oxygen to keep the fire and charcoal burning. Close them to help smother the fire when you finish grilling.
What type of clothing do you wear while grilling. Loose-fitting clothing is likelier to catch on fire. Always wear proper clothing, roll up your sleeves, and pull your hair back when cooking over the grill.
Know How to Put Out a Grill Fire
Accidents happen, even when you’re cautious and carefully following each safety tip listed here. Be prepared to take action and put out a grill fire should something go wrong.
The first tip is to never use water to put out a grill fire. A grill fire is similar to a grease fire in the kitchen. Spraying the fire with water can cause a grease explosion or the fire to spread.
One efficient method is to use a multi-purpose fire extinguisher. This is the most effective way of controlling a grill fire if the grill falls or tips over. Have one nearby while grilling and make sure you know how to use it.
The other option is to smother the flames if the fire is in the grill. If it’s safe to do so, close the vents on the lid and the grill. You can also dust the fire with baking soda to help smother the fire.
If the fire gets out of control, call 911. Grill fires can easily spread to lawn or house fires and continue growing from there.
Treat burn injuries right away. Run cold water over minor burns and cover with a sterile non-adhesive bandage. Those with more severe burns should see a doctor immediately.
Make This Grilling Season Unforgettable
Warm weather is for getting together with friends and family while grilling good food. Follow these five easy charcoal grill safety tips and you’re sure to have a fun and safe summer full of barbecues.
Need new recipe ideas for this upcoming grilling season? Check out our latest recipe articles to learn more!