December 20, 2014

Fire It Up Safely: CPSC Recommends Safety Check Before Grilling This Summer

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to check their grills and “fire it up safely” to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Before lighting the grill, do a safety check.

    Has your grill been recalled? Check SaferProducts.gov. If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.

    Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.

    Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.

    Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.

Once the safety check is complete, make sure to operate the grill as safely as possible.

    Use grills outside only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that will burn. Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning that could result in injury or death. An estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010. While almost all of the injuries were burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries were related to carbon monoxide. There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces.

    Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

    Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.

    Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.

Grill Safety for the 4th and all Summer Long

Summer, the Fourth of July and barbecue, they all come together to create happy memories. Don’t let an accident spoil your summer fun; read these tips from HPBA (Hearth, Patio, Barbecue Association) and be prepared for a great Holiday and summer.

* Read the owner’s manual.

Always read the owner’s manual before using your grill and follow specific usage, assembly, and safety procedures. Contact the grill manufacturer if you have specific questions. (Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.)

* Grills are for outside, only.

Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use, only. Never barbecue in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate and kill you.

* Use in well-ventilated area.

Set up your grill in an open area that is away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of wind-blown sparks.

* Keep grill stable.
When using a barbecue grill, be sure that all parts of the unit are firmly in place and that the grill is stable (can’t be tipped over).

* Follow electric codes.

If electrically-operated accessories are used (rotisseries, etc.), be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be placed away from walkways or anywhere people can trip over them.

* Use long-handled utensils.
Use barbecue utensils with long handles (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.

* Wear safe clothing.

Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.

* Keep fire under control.

To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.

* Be ready to extinguish flames.

Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.

* Consider placing a grill pad or splatter mat beneath your grill.

These naturally heat resistant pads are usually made of lightweight composite cement or plastic and will protect your deck or patio from any grease that misses the drip pan.

* Never leave a grill unattended once lit.

* Stay away from hot grill.
Don’t allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.

* Don’t move a hot grill.

Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.