Safety Tips for Your Memorial Day BBQ

Don’t let your holiday barbecue end in tears. Be safe with our tips!

The National Fire Protection Association reported that between 2005 and 2009, an average of 6,900 house fires per year were started from gas grills. And if you use charcoal, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you. Charcoal and other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,100 house fires during the same time period.

With Memorial Day approaching this weekend, we want to make sure our Orange County readers are prepared for a safe and happy holiday.

Will your homeowners’ insurance cover you if you accidentally burn your own house down in a barbeque-induced fire? The answer is yes, and we can help you negotiate that path with your insurance company. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so avoid disaster by using these tips:

Safety with Propane-Tank Grills:

  1. Inspect the tank’s cylinder for bulges, dents, gouges, corrosion, leaks, or severe rusting. Also examine the hoses on your grill for brittleness, leaks, holes, cracks or sharp bends. If you find any of these problems, replace the equipment immediately (not the next time you grill).
  2. Be sure to keep propane tanks upright. Make sure that gas hoses are set well away from dripping grease and hot surfaces.
  3. Never use cigarettes, lighters, or matches near your gas grill, even when you think it’s off. It is very possible that there is a slight gas leak somewhere in the unit, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Propane tanks require sophisticated valve equipment to keep them safe for use with grills. Never try to remove the valve from your propane tank, as this will put in at risk of an explosion. When you’re finished using the grill, it’s imperative that you shut the valve.
  5. Your propane tank should never see the inside of your home or garage, nor should spare ones ever be stored under or near your grill. You also shouldn’t store other flammable liquids, such as gasoline, near propane tanks. Keeping your barbeque covered when it is not in use could prevent hazardous situations.
  6. If you must transport your propane tank for any purpose, be sure you choose a relatively cool day. Keeping containers, or any other grill parts that are under pressure, in a hot car will cause an increase in the pressure of the gas, which could cause an explosion.
  7. 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, or simply refill it. In Orange County, home improvement stores like Lowe’s and several gas stations offer a change-out with your empty tank. If your grill uses a disposable tank, take care to use up all the residual gas before discarding it.

Safety with Charcoal Grills

Carbon monoxide is highly toxic, which is why you should never burn your charcoal grill inside your home, a tent, a vehicle, or any other enclosed area.

1. Charcoal grills are for outdoors ONLY! Never fire one up inside an enclosed area. Extinguished coals STILL produce carbon monoxide, so keep your charcoal grills outside at all times, even when you’re finished grilling.

2. Don’t wear loose clothing while grilling.

3. Charcoal grills tend to flare up, so keep a water spray-bottle or fire extinguisher handy.

4. Use charcoal lighter fluid to light new coals only; don’t use it on coals that are already lit.

If you enjoy drinking alcohol while grilling, limit it to beer while you’ve got the fire going and switch to the rum and cokes after you’ve put the grill well and truly out. We don’t need any fireworks before the Fourth of July!

If you do manage to have a little “accident” and scorch the side of your Orange County house—or worse—please give us a call. We can have your home back to normal in a jiffy! You’ll be back practicing safer barbecueing in no time. Have a wonderful (and safe) Memorial Day weekend, Orange County!


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