Barbecue Safety Tips

Barbecuing has become a fun summer pastime for many people. It is great to be able to cook out for friends, family and neighbors and there are some safety measures that need to be kept in mind to ensure that the cookouts remain a fun and safe endeavor.

Children need to be kept away from the grill. Kids under 12 should not ever touch a barbecue and those that are under 18 should be well supervised by an experienced adult when using the grill. Consider making a three foot “no kids” zone around the perimeter of the barbecue.

Be sure the grill is situated away from anything flammable, including houses, decks, eaves, trees and branches. Barbecues can become quite hot during the cooking process, and fires have started from barbecues being too close to flammable objects.

If you are using a charcoal grill, be sure to only use charcoal starter fluid designed for use in a barbecue or self starting briquettes. Starter fluid should never be used after the coals are already lit and gasoline should absolutely never be used anywhere near a barbecue of any kind.

When using a gas or propane grill, connections and hoses should be checked regularly for leaks. A leaky hose will not only waste the valuable propane, but it may ignite and cause considerable damage. Using soapy water when the grill is not in use will identify any leaks that may have formed in the hose or connection.

Older propane cylinders need to have an overfill protection device installed so that the cylinder cannot be overfilled. Check with a filling station to be sure you have a safe cylinder if you are unsure. Cylinders without an overfill device could explode if too much propane is added.

All types of grills need to be cleaned on a regular basis per the manufacturing suggestions. Grates should be kept clear of any fat or grease buildup, as this material can be flammable. Ashes should be regularly cleared from charcoal barbecues.

Those that do the barbecuing should wear short sleeves and no loose clothing. Long sleeves can catch fire, and depending on the clothing material, may ignite from heat even if no open flame is touched. Short sleeves and close fitting clothing can minimize this risk.

Never leave a barbecue unattended. Fires can happen quickly and without warning. A fire suppression device should be nearby when a barbecue is in use.

Both propane and charcoal barbecues should only be used outside. The use of a barbecue inside is both a fire and suffocation hazard.

Everyone can have a great time barbecuing in the great outdoors if a few safety measures are kept in mind.

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