When folks set up their outdoor grills for another season of cooking out, it’s no coincidence that there is an uptick in incidences of outdoor fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and other adverse events caused by grills.
Although many grillers are focused on the delectable meals that are produced by their efforts, few stop to think about BBQ safety until something bad happens. The fact is that propane grills do come along with some risks. Whether you are using your grill during an outdoor camping excursion or a backyard fling, there are a few simple tricks to keep yourself — and your family — safe while still enjoying a tasty meal.
KEEP IT OUTSIDE
Portable outdoor grills are made to be used outside, not inside a tent, caravan or other camping structure. One of the most dangerous mistakes that campers make is moving their grill into an enclosed space, which can cause a buildup of the colorless, odorless compound known as carbon monoxide, or CO.
This poisonous gas is generated during the incomplete burning of propane and other flammable materials. Using a gas grill inside a structure like a tent, awning or camper van reduces ventilation and increases the buildup of CO in the area.
Victims who have been exposed to CO poisoning report symptoms such as
- Chest pain
Breathing in too much CO can cause you to lose consciousness and even die. Responsible use of portable propane grills is more important than you might think.
CLEAN AND MAINTAIN YOUR GRILL
A dirty grill with grease or fat residue is more likely to catch fire. Make sure that you are promoting BBQ safety by cleaning the cooking surface, flame area (for gas grills) and the tray below the grill before each use. This way, stray food particles are less likely to ignite, causing damage and danger to life and health.
You should also be regularly inspecting your grill’s components, including the gas tank hose, by making sure that the system is not leaking. Gas lines on portable outdoor grills can be checked by applying a light soap and water solution and turning on the gas from your tank. If you see any bubbles on the hose, that means you may have a gas leak. Additionally, if you notice the smell of propane around your grill, you may have a dangerous gas leak on your hands.
BE SMART ABOUT SETUP
Your grill should be set up in a stable location where it is always attended by the chef or another adult. A flat, solid surface will prevent injuries if the grill falls over, and it will also dramatically reduce the risk of a fire. Also, allowing children or pets to play around the grill can be a recipe for disaster, so make sure you have cordoned off a reasonable perimeter for your grilling activities.
Also, be sure that you are placing the grill in a location where it can cool down for at least an hour after use. Attempting to move a grill too soon can lead to painful burns and increase the risk of starting a blaze.
KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY
A key component of BBQ safety is simply being prepared for the fact that a fire could get out of control. Outdoor camping chefs may choose to simply keep a bucket of sand next to the grill to smother any flames if they get out of control. Baking soda can also control a grease fire and having a small fire extinguisher on hand is a smart move for even the most experienced griller.
Remember never to use water to put out a grease fire, as it will simply spread the fire, causing a much more dangerous situation.
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
Ultimately, any griller who is using portable outdoor grills can benefit from reviewing user instructions and manufacturers’ information before lighting up!
Whether it’s your first backyard BBQ, or you are an “old hand” at entertaining with portable propane grills, you always have an opportunity to learn more about safety. You will be glad you took the time to refresh your knowledge about grilling safety.
How many fires have you put out while grilling? FireDisc offers several portable outdoor cookers that are easy to use and clean. View our many portable propane cooker options and embark on your next outdoor adventure!