Whatever the Backyard Cookout Flavor, Play It Safe This Summer

Consumers’ love affair with barbecuing continues unabated, and for good reasons, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.   They tell the organization that they barbecue mainly because the food tastes good, but they cite other reasons too:  It’s fun, it keeps the kitchen cool, it’s a great way to entertain at home…the list goes on.
Following a few basic steps provided by the HPBA that can help ensure safe, reliable operation of an outdoor cooking appliance, regardless of what type is used.

Recipe for Safety:  First, be Smart and Informed
The main “ingredient” for safety in outdoor cooking is common sense.  Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling and using your grill or smoker, and call their “help line” numbers if you have a problem or a question.

Basic Safety Tips

  • Use the barbecue grill outdoors, in an open area away from any enclosure or overhang – carbon monoxide can accumulate and cause fatalities.
  • Be sure all parts of the grill are firmly in place and the grill is stable.
  • When using electrically-powered accessories (e.g., a rotisserie), be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes.  Buy a cord designed for outdoor use.  Route the cord well away from the hot grill and away from walkways.
  • Use long-handled utensils to avoid burns and spatters.
  • Do not wear anything with hanging shirttails, frills or apron strings.
  • Use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
  • To extinguish flare-ups, spread out the coals with a long-handled utensil (if they can reach them easily), or adjust the controls to reduce the temperature.  If a sprits of water must be used to douse the flames, first remove the food from the grill.  Always use an elbow-length, flame retardant mitt when dealing with flare-ups.
  • Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. If no commercial extinguisher is available, keep a bucket of sand or a garden hose nearby.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended.
  • Do not allow any activities around the grill when it is in use or still hot.  Always use the grill away from combustible surfaces, and never attempt to move a hot grill.
  • Prior to lighting a gas grill, be sure to open the lid to prevent a buildup of gas.
  • When cooking is completed, be sure to turn off the fuel supply and then turn the burners to “off.”
  • Check your grill regularly for signs of wear and tear, particularly for hose cracks and possible leaks; also keep burners clear of dirt and insects that can block hoses or tubes.
  • When using a liquid propane (LP) gas grill, always store propane tanks outside and in an upright position.
  • Never use an LP cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms of visual external damage. It may be hazardous and should be checked by a liquid propane supplier.
  • For more consumer safety information about liquid propane, visit www.usepropane.com.