Having a fire feature in your backyard can seem amazing and even fun. Aftere all you can get grill and barbecues which are suitable for hosting outdoor events in your garden. You can also get more aesthetically pleasing features such as custom made fire pits and fire features built into your garden. These can make your garden a fun and unique place to spend your free time. However, it should go without saying that these features have dangers that come with them. The NFPA reports that backyard grilling is responsible for an average of 10,600 fires annually in the US and grills account for over 80% of those fires. That statistic is scary considering the fact that it is right at the top of the list of causes of fire outbreaks right below fireworks and gas leaks. Grill fires are totally avoidable though, all you have to do is follow the safety protocols attached to your grill at purchase. Grill fires don’t respect experience, they can happen to anyone whether you are using a backyard grill for the first time or an experienced grill user. You can avoid becoming a statistic by following these simple safety protocols though.
Do Not Grill Indoors
Many people assume that small charcoal grills are safe to use indoors, inside the garage, on balconies or even open pouches but they are not as safe as you may think. Anything combustible above, below or around your grill while in use increases the chances of starting a fire and it is pretty difficult to prevent that when grilling indoors. Grills are meant to be used in an open space where there is sufficient ventilation. Grill fuel also releases carbon monoxide as it burns which is another risk you don’t want inside your house.
Secure The Grill to Make It Stable
Grills bring life to your backyard parties and when everyone is happy and excited, they become harder to keep in check. It is therefore important to ensure that the base of your grill is stable enough and you can secure it further with blocks or wooden planks if you don’t trust the manufacturer’s frame. Even the most stable grill can only withstand so many knocks which is why you have to secure your grill and ensure that it is as far away from the traffic as possible to reduce the risk of hot things toppling over. Look at your grilling space as the DJ’s stand which serves everyone but it is only accessible to a select few.
Clean Your Grill Regularly
Grills that haven’t been used for a long cause more than one-quarter of all grill fires which is sufficient warning for all grill owners to keep theirs clean. The soot, accumulated fat from meats and other foods among other dirt in the grill can act as fuel for a fire. It is therefore important to take your time to brush and wash your grill after use. If you are using someone’s grill, you should also check to ensure that there are no cobwebs or any accumulated grease and fat before lighting it to prevent starting a fire.
Do Not Overload the Grates With Food
The grates on your grill have a capacity and they can only hold so much food and while it may be tempting to get all the burgers and steaks done at once, a few minutes of waiting will be worth it if they prevent a fire. Overloading the grates can cause too much fat to drip into the fire at once causing a flare-up causing a fire. Overloaded grates may also collapse into the coals on some grills causing a fire or the grill to topple over if it is not stable enough.
Don’t Leave It Unattended
An unattended grill is a disaster waiting to happen, which is why the person in charge of grilling should be the most alert member of any grilling party. You just can’t leave a ball of fire whose size may increase any minute to take care of itself. Ensure that you have prepared all the food you want to grill and the chores that may need urgent attention are done before you light the grill so that nothing will take your attention once you start cooking. If you have to leave your grill for some reason, then put out the fire first, you can always pick up from where you stopped when you come back.
Grill At A Safe Distance From Structures
The NFPA recommends that you set up your grill at least 10 feet from structures, which includes your garage and porch, but the further you can go, the better. If you can set it up in the middle of your backyard, away from the other structures, then it will be safe for everyone.
You should also avoid putting decorations on or above the grill because they are always the first to catch fire in case it flares up.
If you also have a swimming pool in your backyard, you can create a separate cooking area farther from the pool and any other structure. You can also explore various locations based builders who can assist in deciding on placement of the grill as well as improve your pool to ensure utmost safety.
Keep Water And A Fire Extinguisher Close By
Having a sprayer bottle with you when grilling is like the 101 of grilling safety tips. As you cook, the size of the fire will increase and sometimes flares will happen which have to be tuned down with a few drops of water. You should also keep a whole bucket of water with you, especially when using grills powered by solid fuels so that you can put out many coals at once in case the grill collapses. A fire extinguisher will also come in handy if the flares get out of hand or anything near the grill catches fire.
Check For Gas Leaks
Gas leaks are the main cause of fires in gas-powered grills but they can be avoided by using the simple leak test with water and soap. Just make a mixture of water and soap and rub it on the gas cylinder or on the connections and the tubing that connects to your grill. Once you light up the grill, any leaks will be noticeable because it will foam up. You should also change your tubing and connections if they are old or rusty.
Aside from that, you should probably use a professional plumbing service and avoid installing it yourself. Gas-powered appliances such as water heaters, HVAC systems, fireplaces, and outdoor grills can all be installed or repaired by a plumber effeciently. An experienced, licensed plumber can ensure that new gas lines and appliances are installed correctly.
Grill On A Level Fuel-Free Surface
Having dry twigs and grass on the ground while grilling is a recipe for disaster that you don’t want to wait out. You don’t have to clear your whole backyard to get a spot to grill, just a small area that will accommodate your grill. You can go a step further by constructing a tough surface or buying a heat resistant grill mat because coals or burning food are bound to drop at one point or another and you don’t want them coming into contact with something that will catch fire on the floor.
Don’t Light The Grill With The Lid Closed
This one applies to gas-powered grills which are also the cause of the largest number of grill fires. When you turn on the gas with the lid in place, gas accumulates in your grilling area creating a firebomb that might explode in your face when you lift it after lighting.