Tips for a Safe BBQ Season
The smell of something sizzling on a hot grill is one of the hallmarks of the beginning of spring.
And what a welcome smell it is! As the season of outdoor entertaining heats up, we’re all eager
to end our hibernation and enjoy backyard gatherings with friends and family. In your
excitement to fire up the grill, keep these safety tips in mind to make sure everyone has a
happy and safe BBQ season.
For gas grills, check frequently for any obstructions to the flow of gas. To prepare for the first
BBQ of the season, use a pipe cleaner to clear any debris or spider webs that may have crept
into your grill over the winter and check for damages hoses and fittings. If there’s a blockage
around the burner ports, use a soft bristle brush to clean it. Check for leaks in the seal of your
gas tank before hooking it up, and clean all parts to eliminate greasy build up which could easily
ignite. If you suspect something is blocking the flow of gas, immediately turn off the grill, then
the fuel, and disconnect it.
Steps to Safely Turn on the Grill:
- Open the valve on your gas tank to start the flow of gas.
- Turn on the control switch on the grill.
- Light the grill. If your grill is not self lighting, stand back while doing so.
You don’t want your pleasant backyard party to go up in flames! It’s important to name a “grill
master” who will be in charge of BBQ safety. This person will make sure never to leave the hot
grill unattended, especially around children or pets. Gas and charcoal grills have a very different
set of safety instructions, so make sure the person in charge reads the manual before lighting
up your new grill. Have a fire extinguisher on hand and make sure the chef knows where it is
and how it works, and can delegate someone to call the fire department if necessary.
If you have followed the safety guide this far, hopefully you will have prevented the pain of a
burn in the first place. Using the wrong fuel or lighting the grill incorrectly are the two major
causes of serious BBQ-related burns. If you’re impatient about lighting coals, the worst mistake
you can make is to pour lighter fluid or gas onto hot coals. You’ll quickly discover the reason for
this, so don’t try this at home! To treat a minor burn, hold it under cool running water until the
pain subsides (anywhere from 10-20 minutes), then bandage the wound to protect it. Never
apply cream to a burn as it can worsen it. Get immediate medical help for anything worse than
a 1st degree burn.
Once food is thawed, bacteria starts to grow on it. Make sure your food stays chilled until you
grill it and refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible. These insidious bacteria can stay alive up to
a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s crucial to invest in a good meat thermometer.
Food poisoning is a real concern if you’re careless in this area. Clean anything that has come
into contact with raw meat thoroughly to prevent the spread of Salmonella.