How to Keep Your Backyard Barbecue Outings Safe

People enjoy backyard barbecues in the warm weather months, but many also barbecue in the winter months as well. I do, if when we have a break in the frigid winter months. But, in order to have the best time possible, you should practice safety, especially when operating gas grills.

Read and follow these simple tips and you’ll keep yourself, your family and guests- and your property!- safe everytime you host a barbecue outing!

1. Location is Everything
No matter what type of grill you use, whether it’s gas, electric or charcoal, you should position it no closer than twenty feet from your house. It should also be located away from flammable objects, trees, bushes, vehicles, and people.

2. Keep the Fire Inside the Grill
Backyard grillmasters are favoring gas grills more and more. And, why not? I prefer a charcoal grill myself. But a propane grill is easier to use and clean up afterwards. However, the tanks on gas grills make them highly flammable. Therefore, don’t smoke when you’re setting up or using a gas grill!

3. Keep Your Grill Clean and Working Properly
I’ve seen all kinds of tips on how to clean the grates of a barbecue grill in newspaper columns like “Hints from Heloise”, et cetera. It seems that, since food is placed on the grates, it’s viewed as the only part of a grill that needs to be cleaned.

But, in order for your gas grill to work properly, you’ll also need to clean out the burners, tubes, and ports! And after the grill is cleaned, make sure that you often inspect these parts for signs of damage or wear. Replace any parts as necessary.

And, practice safety! Inspect the gas tank for leaks too. If you smell gas leaking from the tank, immediately shut the propane valve off ! Replace the tank before you attempt to use your propane grill again.

Charcoal grills are much easier to clean. That’s one reason I like to do my barbecuing on them. After the ashes are completely cooled, I dump them out of the body of the grill. Then, I use a damp paper towel to wipe out the residue.

4. Light Your Grill Safely
If you’re not sure how to light a gas or charcoal grill, refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions. If, for example, you attempt to light a propane grill a couple of times and it doesn’t ignite, then, take a break! Allow the gas fumes to disappear before you try again.

Here’s another helpful tip for your backyard barbecue: when using a charcoal grill, only attempt to light it using lighter fluid. Never, ever use gasoline or any other type of flammable liquid!

5. Carry and Store Propane Tanks Safely
Whenever you have to carry or store a gas tank, they should remain in an upright position at all times. Also, store your tanks away from heat, sparks, and open flames. For safety’s sake, never keep them inside your house.

6. Be Prepared for a Fire and Possible Injuries
I know it’s something we don’t like to think about, but, it’s best to be like the Scouts and “always be prepared.” When you’re working around any type of fire, sometimes the inevitable happens.

If your propane barbecue grill does catch on fire, try to shut the valves off if you can get to them without getting burned or harmed.

No matter what type of grill you are using, you should keep a fire extinguisher handy everytime you barbecue. Though a charcoal grill can usually be extinguished by using plain water.

Have a fully stocked first aid kit in your house in case you suffer a minor burn. If you do get a minor burn, run cold water over it for several minutes to reduce the burning sensation and swelling. Seek immediate medical attention for more serious burns.

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