How to Burn Responsibly – Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips

Summer weather means one thing and one thing only; time to break out the grill and make some s’mores! Enjoying a glowing fire outside can be fun! You can even learn how you can add a few ingredients found at the grocery store to make colored flames!

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s review safe outdoor grilling and bon fire procedures to keep you and your family safe. The CPSC recently recalled this outdoor fire pit so make sure you check if your model was affected if you shopped at Christmas Tree Shops.

English: Preparing grill for grilling, grill w...

Image courtesy Fretti

Outdoor Grilling Statistics

The statistics below will raise an eye-brow about the dangers associated with outdoor grilling. No, I’m not suggesting we hide inside, only that we grill responsibly!

National Fire Protection Association Statistic:

  • 27% of house fires originated from outdoor grills in the courtyard, terrace, or patio.
  • 43% of fires caused by outdoor grills at home were a result of outdoor gas grills.
  • 29% of gas grill structure fires started when a flammable/combustible gas or liquid caught fire.

Follow these tips to an enjoyable outdoor grilling experience. In case of fire, follow these steps. Spray it, smother it with dirt, soak with water, and call for help (if necessary).

5 Outdoor Grilling Tips

  1. Most grilling incidents happen during ignition of gas grills. Make sure that all your lines are fastened securely. If you ever smell gas, DO NOT LIGHT YOUR GRILL! This could lead to a dangerous explosion! Have your grill serviced if you are unsure for any reason.
  2. Keep a fire extinguished handy. It seems like an extra cost but it’s worth it. In case anything happens, you can easily put out the fire. Look for a Class B or Class B Fire extinguisher with a multi-purpose rating. Don’t wait until it’s too late, buy one today!
  3. Observe local burn restrictions. In many regions, local officials will release burn restrictions when it is inadvisable to grill. This can be due to concerns over air pollution. China recently banned outdoor grills completely in one city.  You can  Read about it here.
  4. Maintain a safe distance to prevent breathing difficulties. Smoke is one of the main elements of stepping outdoors and having a cook out. Little do you know, smoke contains carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAH can cause cancer so keep this in mind when standing by the grill.
  5. Lighter fluid can turn into gas at relatively low temperatures. When these gases evaporate, it can cause lighter fluid vapors to explode. Be very careful when lighting your grill using lighter fluid. If at all possible, try using an alternative lighting method.

Sources:
National Fire Protection Agency. “Grilling Facts from NFPA”. Retrieved on 6/4/2014.