BBQ Safety

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lance Beard
  • 8th Fighter Wing Safety
The weather is warming up and it's time to bring out the grills for the summer. Here are a few tips to remember while enjoying the nicer weather and grilling.

BBQ grills should NEVER be operated under an overhang or within 15 feet of a building. Grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss each year.

Never use gasoline to start charcoal, even when you use lighter fluid or match lite, be careful. If you think the flames are out after you placed lid down, be careful when you reopen it to check. It could fiercely reignite due to the fact you just provided it with a large amount of oxygen needed and fumes collect around the top of the grill. (Speaking from personal experience).

Store charcoal in a dry place and prevent it from getting moist or wet. Water in small quantities diffuses into the pores and wets the surface, thus catalyzing oxidation reactions on the interface. Heat is released, and it does not dissipate readily because charcoal is an insulator. Eventually, the buildup of heat ignites the gases and the hydrocarbons, resulting in fire.

Never leave burning grills unattended. A simple gust of wind could cause thousands of dollars worth of damage from a small ember. Thirty-two percent of grill fires on residential properties start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches or courtyards. While an additional 24 percent, start on exterior balconies and unenclosed porches.

If a leak is detected in a gas grill, take immediate action. Turn off the gas supply and let the grill completely air out, to include any lower cabinets. Gas is heavier than air and will go to the lowest point.

It's bad enough we are using flammable materials to do our cooking, but the food itself is creating more flames. Flare-ups are more than a nuisance, they are potentially lethal. Grease that collects in your grill builds up over time. It is easy to get several pounds of grease in the bottom of your grill after only a few cookouts. This is why you need to keep your grill clean. A clean grill is a safer grill, whether it is gas, charcoal or even a smoker.

Ensure used charcoals are cooled and disposed of properly. Use metal containers such as used coffee cans, and do not place them in trash containers. Two weeks ago, when hot coals where put into a dumpster, a fire started. Not only was there a fire, but there was also a diesel tank within seven feet of the trash container. This could have been a catastrophic mistake because both were within 10 feet of a building.

Like I said before enjoy, the weather and the BBQs. Just think about some of the potential hazards that go along with some of the simple things we enjoy during the warmer months.