Grilling Safety Part 3: Gas Grills

Grilling Safety Part 3 - Gas Grills

A story was reported on NBC news a few years ago.  Julie was grilling hot dogs.  She looked outside and “saw 5-foot flames spewing from her family’s gas grill.”  Her friend emptied their kitchen fire extinguisher on the fire, but it didn’t stop.  She called 911 who advised her to wait until the flames died down and then shut off the propane.  Once the fire was out, she saw that the knobs and the shelf were melted off!

Julie was lucky.  She caught the fire before the tank blew up or anyone was hurt. It could have been worse.

Don’t let Julie’s experience happen to you.  Keep your outdoor barbecuing experience fun and reduce your risk with these tips.

Safety Checks

Many gas grill fires happen when using a grill that has been left inactive for a period of time.  They can also happen just after refilling and reattaching the gas container.  It is important to check them thoroughly.

Check your gas cylinder hose for leaks before your first use each year (or periodically if you use your grill year-round).

  • Bubble test:  Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
  • Smell test:  Pay attention for the smell of gas.

Check for blockages in the tubes that might be caused by insects, spiders, or food grease. If found, a pipe cleaner or wire can be used to push the blockage out of the tube.

Check for hoses in bad condition.  In addition to checking for leaks, look for any cracking, brittleness, or holes.  Ensure that any hoses or tubing have no sharp bends.

Position gas hoses properly.  Move them as far away from hot surfaces or where hot grease might drop.  If that is not possible, install a protective heat shield.

Check your connectors.  Replace any that are scratched or nicked.

If You Find a Leak or Break

If you find a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Keep fire/heat sources away from a leaking grill.  This includes, but is not limited to, cigarettes, matches or any open flame.

Do not attempt repairs yourself.  Go to an LP gas dealer or qualified repair person.

 

Starting the Grill and While Cooking

Open the lid before turning on the gas — always!  Gas can build up inside a closed lid. If ignited, the lid can blow off and cause injuries and/or burns.

If the flame goes out while cooking, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

Only use a grill outdoors. It should be at least 10 feet away from any building.  Do not use it in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.

After Cooking

Completely close off the valve.

Store equipment correctly:

  • Your grill and propane tank should be stored outside and away from your house.
  • Flammable liquid (LP gas, gasoline, etc.) containers should be stored upright and away from the grill. Never store them indoors.
  • A filled gas container should never be kept in a hot car or car trunk.  Heat causes gas pressure to increase.  This causes the possibility of the relief valve opening and releasing gas into the vehicle.

Tips for Driving During the Winter

winter driving - commuter traffic

Staying safe on the road is always important for you, your family who may be with you and also for other drivers.  Many winters offer driving challenges such as slippery roads and other instances that can cause accidents. Here are a few tips to help you win the challenge of the wintery roads.

Sleep

It is important to get enough sleep to avoid driving while fatigued. You need the extra focus during the winter months to keep an eye out for hazards like black ice (which can be tricky to spot) or other cars that may lose control. Getting plenty of sleep will also sharpen your reflexes so you can react fast enough to prevent an accident.

Make sure you have enough gas

Consider having at least a half full of tank of gas before driving out during the winter.  If you get stranded , it can be your life saver to keep you warm until help arrives.

Keep your eyes on the road

Don’t let distractions divert your attention from diving. Just keep your focus on the road. Phones are a frequent diversion. Don’t text and drive!  If your kids noise or actions are sidetracking you from driving, it is best to pull over, deal with the situation then move on.

Seat belts

There is a reason why wearing your seat belt (and having your passengers wear them too) is urged so often. Aside from the law which requires us to wear them when driving, seat belts work most of the time. They save lives! Winter months get cold and roads can (1) stay wet longer due to the lack of heat or (2) become icy so having a seat belt on while driving on ice can be a lifesaver.

Properly inflated tires

This is another recommendation that most people know all know but is easily forgotten. We get gas but sometimes we don’t think about our tires.

You should know the information about your tires, such as its size and especially your max PSI (how much air should be in your tires). Having a tire gage will help you know what psi is in your tires. When your tires are inflated properly, they perform better, and it helps them last longer.