Safe Propane Grilling Tips
In 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires. These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
- When preparing to use the grill for the first time this season, never use matches or lighters to check for leaks. Instead, apply a thick soapy water or leak-detection solution around the connection between the propane cylinder and grill hose. Bubbles will form if propane is escaping. If a grill has a gas leak, call the local fire department.
- Use your grill outdoors in well-ventilated areas only. Avoid grilling on porches, in garages, or on an apartment terrace. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Keep the top open when lighting a grill.
- Use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright (vertical) position and away from high temperatures. This includes storing spare cylinders under or near the grill.
- Avoid smoking while handling a propane cylinder. Extinguish all smoking materials and other open flames immediately if gas is smelled.
- Ask the propane vendor to check for any rust, damage or corrosion on the cylinder.
- Transport cylinders in well-ventilated areas of vehicles and drive directly to the destination where it will be used. Keep your vehicle ventilated with the cylinder valve closed and plugged or capped. Do not leave the cylinder in your car.
- Make sure cylinders have an overfill prevention device (OPD), which shuts off the flow of propane before capacity is reached (OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel).
- Always follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for your grill and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.
10. Make sure the grill burner controls are closed and the cylinder valve closed when not in use.
11. When your grill is not in use, cover disconnected hose-end fittings and burner air intakes with small plastic bags, or obtain protective fitting caps from your propane supplier to keep out dirt, insects and moisture.
12. Do not allow children to tamper or play with the cylinder or grill. Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free” safety zone around the grill.
13. Do not apply any aerosols or flammable materials (including sunscreen) near a grill or open flame.
14. Grills should be kept clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill itself and in the trays below the grill.
15. Never leave a grill unattended.