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Barbecue Safety
By Fran Black

Barbecues are one of America's most popular past times. While all should take part in this age old traditional it is also import that you stay safe. Follow these simple tips to insure that your barbecue is a success!

Grill Clothing
Don't wear loose clothing, especially long sleeves, while grilling.

Shutting Down
When shutting down your barbecue, shut off the propane tank or natural gas main shut off valve and then shut off the burner control valves. This sequence prevents residual gas from being left in the system under pressure.

Propane Tank Transportation
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.

Charcoal Grills
Operate charcoal grills only outdoors, never inside an enclosed area. Even if you've finished grilling, and you assume all the coals are extinguished, they're still producing carbon monoxide, so keep your charcoal grills outside at all times.

Propane Tank Storage
Never store a propane cylinder or tank under or near your barbecue, in your home, cottage, garage or vehicle. Store the tank upright and outdoors in the shade and away from any combustible materials.

Inspect Equipment
Inspect the cylinder of your propane tank for bulges, dents, gouges, corrosion, leaks, or evidence of extreme rusting. Also, examine the hoses on your grill for brittleness, leaks, holes, cracks, or sharp bends. If you find any of these problems, it's time to replace the equipment.

Clean Grills are Safe Grills
Keep your barbecue clean and free of greasy buildup this will enable your barbecue to work most efficiently and can prevent greasy deposits from catching fire, a situation you want to avoid.

Flaring Grills
Charcoal grills tend to flare up, so keep a fire extinguisher handy. If you don't wear a watch, keep a small portable clock or timer near the grill.

General Tank Care
Propane tanks require sophisticated valve equipment to keep them safe for use with grills. Never try to remove the valve from your propane tank, because you'll risk an explosion. In addition, always close the tank valve when you're finished using it. 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. If your grill uses a disposable tank, take care to use up all the residual gas before discarding it.

Never use cigarettes, lighters, or matches near your gas grill, whether it's in use or not. You can't be sure that there's not a slight gas leak somewhere in the unit, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Catching the Drips
Be sure to use an aluminum drip pan with water, underneath the roast to prevent flare-ups.

Children and Grills
Keep kids and pets away from the barbecue, even after you've shut everything off. Most barbecues remain hot long after being turned off.

Flammable Liquids
Don't store other flammable liquids, such as gasoline, near propane tanks. Keep your barbecue covered when it's not in use to prevent hazardous situations. Be sure to keep propane tanks upright, and move gas hoses away from dripping grease and hot surfaces.

About the Author
Francesca Black is contributing author and publisher to an on nline resource that provides you with information, articles of interest related to barbecues.

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