Grilling Safety

xWith June and July being the most popular months for barbecue grilling, the Salt Lake City Fire Department reminds everyone to remember that mistakes can make your summer barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills were involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires in 2007-2011, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,400 home fires.

Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors, and the grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. The grill should never be left unattended, and children and pets should be kept away from the grill area.

It’s important to keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.

Here is a simple way to check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year: Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose and look for bubbles; a sign of a propane leak. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, remember:

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Once the fire has started, never add additional charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Following is a cautionary tale on the use of propane grills: