With the flick of a match, barbeques can switch from good food to bad mood
By Will Harding, 17 Training Wing Safety Office
/ Published May 24, 2011
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
It's the weekend, and you're basking in the sun on your patio. In one hand you have a cool drink; in the other a spatula. A couple of juicy steaks are sizzling on the grill, and you're savoring the smell of the flavorful smoke as it drifts past your nose.
Have you thought about safety yet?
You should. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, warm weather activities such as hosting a barbeque lead to product-related injuries for more than 4 million people annually. Most of these injuries come from lighting the grill, whether charcoal or gas.
When it comes to barbequing, burns are always near the top of the injury list and can quickly ruin an outing.
1. Operate charcoal grills only outdoors, never inside an enclosed area, such as your home, enclosed porch, garage, tent, vehicle, etc. Even if you're finished grilling, and you assume all the coals are extinguished, they're still producing highly toxic carbon monoxide, so keep your charcoal grills outside at all times.
2. Don't wear loose fitting clothing, especially long sleeves, while grilling.
3. Charcoal grills tend to flare up, so keep a fire extinguisher handy.
4. Use charcoal lighter fluid to light new coals only; NEVER use it on coals that are already lit.
5. Don't substitute approved charcoal lighter fluid with other flammable substances, especially gasoline.
1. Inspect the cylinder of your propane tank for bulges, dent, gouges, corrosion, leaks, or evidence of extreme rusting. Also, examine the hoses on your grill for brittleness, leaks, holes, cracks, or sharp bends. If you find any of these problems, it's time to replace the equipment.
2. Never smoke near your gas grill, whether it's in use or not. You can't be sure that there's not a slight leak somewhere in the unit, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.
3. Propane tanks require sophisticated valve equipment to keep them safe for use with grills. Never try to remove the valve from the propane tank, because you'll risk an explosion. In addition, always close the tank valve when you're finished using it.
4. Keeping containers or any other grill parts that are under pressure in a hot car for too long will cause an increase in the pressure of the gas, which could cause an explosion.
5. Never dispose of your propane tank by throwing it in the trash. Check to see if there are municipal programs for collection in your area. If your grill uses a disposable tank, take care to use up all the residual gas before discarding it.
(Information courtesy of the U.S. Fire Administration)