Picture this: It’s a clear summer night and you’re roasting marshmallows at a backyard bonfire. Just an hour before, you finished grilling family dinner on the patio. Sounds great, right?
Well, one thing could really set this evening up in flames… a fire mishap.
Many of our favorite summertime activities, from campfires and cookouts, to time spent on Lake Michigan or sippin’ poolside, are those best exercised with caution. At EPS Security, we’ve put together summer safety tips specifically for the grill and bonfire, so you can enjoy fire-related activities without sparking disaster.
Oh, and if you missed it—check out Summer safety tips: Sun & water safety. Here, we detail UV Index, how to best protect your skin, and summer safety tips for the beach and pool.
Summer safety tips for the grill
According to the National Fire Protection (NFPA) July is the peak month for grill fires. So, how can you prevent your home cookout from becoming just another number?
First, it’s important to note your approach to safe grill use may differ, depending on the type of grill you’re cooking with. More specifically, whether you’re using a charcoal or a propane grill.
Charcoal grill safety:
- When dousing charcoal or wood chunks in lighter fluid, wait until they are fully soaked before lighting
- When not in use, cap lighter fluid immediately
- Store lighter fluid and other flammables at least three feet from the grill
- Never use gasoline or kerosene as starter fluids—they can explode
- Electric starters should never be used in rain, or when standing on wet ground
- Once the grill is lit, keep it uncovered until ready to cook
- When finished, allow coals to burn out completely (cool at least 48 hours) before disposing
If you must dispose of grill ashes before they’re completely cool, place the ashes in heavy duty foil and soak with water. To reduce fire risk, always dispose of ashes in non-combustible containers.
Propane/gas grill safety:
Whether charcoal or propane, never operate a grill in an indoor, or otherwise enclosed space. It’s called a cookout for a reason. Propane, especially, should never be brought indoors, as this gas is highly combustible. When removing a gas grill out of storage, you should always check for gas leaks before first use. The NFPA recommends applying a soap and water combination to the hose. A hose with a propane leak will release bubbles. Additionally:
- If your propane grill has a leak, turn it off and do not use until serviced
- Do not lean over the grill when lighting or cooking on a gas grill
- Always keep the lid open when lighting a propane grill
- If a burner does not ignite, turn off the gas. Wait five minutes before attempting to relight
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately move away from the grill and call the fire department
- If an existing flame goes out, wait five minute before trying to light the gas grill again
When grilling, always keep pets and small children at least three feet from the grill. Lastly, never leave a grill in-use, unattended. Following these safety tips will help keep you, and the guests at your backyard BBQ, safe.
Cleaning your grill
Grill maintenance is an important part of reducing fire risk. After each use, clean your grill to avoid the build up of bacteria and excess grease. Excess grease, especially, can cause flare-ups.
The Health, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBS) recommends using a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent on the grill and grates—but only after the grill has cooled. Scrape the grates with a bristle brush to remove build-up, and remember, never touch a hot grill.
Safety around the bonfire
There’s something special about sitting fireside. Think smores, campfire stories, and late summer nights spent with family and friends. As exciting as it is, however, an open flame is also dangerous. So, what steps can you take to enjoy a bonfire, safely?
First, before starting a fire, EPS Security recommends checking local ordinances on whether or not bonfires are permitted. Per the NFPA, where fires are allowed, they should be started 25 feet or more from any structure, such as a home, shed, camper, or tent. Avoid starting fires on windy or dry days, as it’s easier for an open flame to burn out of control. Smaller fires are always easy to tend to, but regardless of size, never leave a fire unattended.
Much like with grills, children and pets should never be left unsupervised around, and must remain a safe distance from, campfires.
Further, to prevent fire disaster:
- Clear dry leaves, sticks, and grass from the surrounding area
- Keep a hose, bucket of water, and dirt/sand nearby, to put the fire out
- Never use gasoline, or other flammable liquids on the fire
While fire safety may seem like common sense, when you’ve manned a grill or started a campfire more than a few times, it’s easy to become complacent. The protection of your people, places, and things, makes brushing up on your summer safety knowledge, well worth it.
The EPS advantage
At EPS Security, protecting what matters most, is what we do best. For more than 65 years, EPS has partnered with Michiganders to provide state-of-the-art security technology, and service. When it comes to fire protection, our team of safety experts knows the ins and outs. First, we understand the safety of your home doesn’t stop at the front door. Preventing fire catastrophe is just as important as alerting and dispatching when emergencies do occur.
With a comprehensive security solution through EPS, life safety devices, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, function at all hours to detect and alert. In communication with our award-winning Monitoring Center, these devices send an emergency signal to our operators. On stand-by 24/7/365, this dedicated team will dispatch first responders with immediacy, when an alarm is received. The peace of mind that comes with knowing help is on the way, is priceless.
If you’re ready to do more than consider fire safety tips, EPS Security is here to help you secure your home, out buildings, and more.