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Hot Tips for the Barbecue

By Catherine Jones, Author, Safety X Change, the online community for safety professioanls

 
According to the US Fire Administration, every year barbecue grills cause approximately 6,500 fires. The peak month for grill fires - JULY.
 
The top ignition factor, accounting for 43% of grill fires, is mechanical failure or malfunction, such as part failure, leak, break or lack of maintenance. Other ignition factors include:
  • Misuse of heat of ignition - such as lack of control of open fire and abandoned materials
  • Misuse of material ignited - such as combustible material being too close to heat
  • Operating deficiency - primarily leaving the grill unattended
 
With proper maintenance, inspection and vigilance, however, many outdoor grill fires can be prevented. Here are some top BBQ do's and don'ts:
 
Do
  • Do operate BBQ outdoors only, 10 feet from house, garage and trees;
  • Do maintain your BBQ by replacing rusted or worn hoses and fittings;
  • Do test for leaks and check tubes for blockage;
  • Do keep lid open when lighting gas grill, to prevent flash off from gas build-up;
  • Do turn BBQ off if you smell gas and don't attempt to relight until the leak is fixed;
  • Do keep alcohol away from grills;
  • Do use baking soda on grease fires - not water - and keep the proper fire extinguisher handy;
  • Do cap lighter fluid immediately and place it a safe distance from the grill
 
Don't
  • Don't leave an operating barbecue unattended;
  • Don't move an operating BBQ;
  • Don't wear loose or flowing clothing while tending to the BBQ;
  • Don't use gasoline or kerosene as a starter;
  • Don't store LP cylinders indoors;
  • Don't store spare cylinders near the grill or appliances

In case of fire:

  • For propane grills - turn off the burner
  • For charcoal grills - close the lid
  • For electric grills - turn off power
  • If the fire involves a propane tank:
  • Leave it,
  • Evacuate the area, and
  • Call the fire department immediately (911)
 

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