- Routine safety inspections are necessary when using gas grills, including cleaning tubes leading to the burner and inspecting gas hoses for signs of wear and tear.
- Grills should never be kept indoors or in enclosed areas, and should maintain a minimum 10-foot distance from buildings when in use.
- Charcoal grills emit hazardous carbon monoxide when burnt, and should never be used indoors, in vehicles, tents, or campers.
- Wire bristles from grill brushes can dislodge and infiltrate grilled meats, posing a risk of injury. Alternatives such as grill stones, bricks, metal coil brushes or nylon-bristled brushes are encouraged.
Whenever you decide to cook up a savory feast on the barbecue this holiday, always remember to put safety first, as cautioned by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Gas grills, which utilize propane, can pose a significant fire hazard. As such, around 30 grill-related injuries are reported nationwide every year. These accidents often happen due to an unused grill being lit, or just after the gas container is refilled and reconnected.
Follow Important Safety Measures
According to the CPSC, it is necessary to execute routine safety inspections. Make sure to clean the tubes leading to the burner as they may be blocked with debris or food grease. A pipe cleaner or wire can be used to push through any clog into the main burner area.
Regularly inspect gas hoses for wear and tear, such as cracks, brittleness, holes or leaks. Avoid placing the hoses near hot surfaces or where hot grease drips. If hose movement isn’t possible, install a heat shield as a buffer.
If you detect the smell of gas, immediately shut off the supply and follow the manufacturer’s steps to detect a gas leak. Never attempt to light the grill before the leak has been resolved.
Keep Grills in Proper Locations
Never keep a grill indoors or in an enclosed area like a garage, carport, porch, or under any material that is flammable. When grilling, maintain at least a 10-foot distance from your home or any other structure.
Propane containers should always be stored upright. Avoid keeping extra containers underneath or near the grill, or inside your house.
Be Wary of Charcoal Barbecues
Charcoal grills can also pose danger. When burnt, charcoal releases carbon monoxide (CO), a hazardous, colorless and odorless gas. Approximately 30 deaths and 100 injuries are incurred annually due to CO emissions from charcoal grills and hibachis used indoors.
Avoid burning charcoal inside your home, car, tent, or camper. It should also be noted that CO continues to be emitted until the charcoal is completely burnt out. As such, never store the grill inside with newly used charcoal.
Be aware of Grill Brush Injuries
One unanticipated risk associated with barbecuing is wire bristles from grill brushes. These bristles can dislodge, stick to the grate, and infiltrate grilled meats. Consumption of such bristles may result in critical injuries to the throat and digestive tract.
Instead of wire brushes, consider using grill stones and bricks, metal coil brushes without bristles, or nylon-bristled grill brushes.
If a wire brush has to be used, be sure to clean the grate with a damp paper towel after its use and inspect the grill meticulously before cooking.
Associate professor of diagnostic imaging at Brown University, Dr. David Grand offers an alternative option: “You also could become a vegetarian,” he recommended. “We’ve only seen bristles lodged in meat. We haven’t found any in grilled vegetables.”
Want Additional Information?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides more insights on grilling safety.