Some people are such fanatics about barbecuing, they make it work all year long, no matter how inclement the weather. While outdoor-roasted Thanksgiving turkey is delicious, the vast majority of us are fair-weather grillers. Now that warm weather is here, it’s time to get that BBQ cleaned up and ready to go. While you’re doing that, take a look around your yard. It undoubtedly needs some spring cleaning, too. After all, everything tastes better in a beautiful setting. And you want your home to look its best when BBQ guests arrive.
Believe it or not, more than 7,000 people are injured around the country every year while barbecuing. And more than 500 home fires are caused by gas grills. You certainly don’t want to be part of these statistics. So whether your BBQ is electric or fueled by gas or charcoal, following proper safety precautions will keep your family and pets safe this BBQ season.
For all grills:
- Keep it at least 10 feet away from your house or other structures. This applies to anything overhead, from a patio overhang to hanging planters or decorations.
- Clean the grill regularly, to avoid build-up of flammable grease and fat.
- Keep a spray bottle of water handy to spritz any flare-ups while you’re cooking. Experts recommend keeping a fire extinguisher nearby, too, but only if you know how to use it without having to stop and read the directions. Otherwise, dial 911 immediately if there’s a fire.
- Never leave your BBQ unattended.
- Never, ever, use a gas or charcoal grill indoors. Both produce carbon monoxide that can kill you and your family.
For gas grills:
- Make sure the gas is completely off before you change tanks or start the BBQ, because leaking gas can explode. This is more important than ever when your grill has been unused sitting over the winter.
- Perform a leak test. Rub soapy water (50/50 mix) on the hoses and connections, then open the lid and then turn on the gas. If bubbles form, there are leaks in the hose line or the connections aren’t quite tight.
- Never start the BBQ with the lid closed, as gas can accumulate inside and explode.
- When you’re finished grilling, turn off the gas before turning off the controls. This allows the residual gas in the line to clear.
- Store extra propane tanks well way from the grill.
For charcoal grills:
- Use only an electric starter or lighter fluid to get coals going. If you’re using lighter fluid, give it a few minutes to soak in before you light it. This will allow flammable vapors to dissipate. Never add lighter fluid to burning coals, as the flame can travel back up the stream to the can in your hand. It takes only a second. Always make sure ashes are cold to the touch before disposing of them.
If you have an electric grill, never use lighter fluid or any other combustible material around it.
What’s the perfect BBQ accompaniment?
Yard games – and not just for the kids! You can stick with top favorites, or get creative dreaming up your own variations on outdoor fun. Why not go really wild and install your very own custom-designed putting green? Whether you’re an ardent golfer or want a “golfing green” the whole family can enjoy, Heavenly Greens has the right artificial turf to transform your vision into reality. Or maybe you’d rather have a bocce court.
But first, get that BBQ going. You can plan your yard games while you’re munching on that first burger (or steak) of the season.