By Jon McCreath, NPI Franchise Owner, Emerson, Georgia
Photo by gargoylesoftware
Throughout the United States, the summer months are those months when millions of us find ourselves enjoying the outdoors or chilling in the backyard. With summer come barbecues and evenings outside, sitting beside the fire pit. It’s important to remember that barbecues and fire pits require a certain amount of safety when in use. To keep your summer celebrations safe, keep these tips close by when using a barbecue or fire pit this summer.
Grilled food is a true treat, especially when you don’t want to cook indoors during the warm summer months. Grills should always be used outside, in a well-ventilated area. To ensure safety, grills should be stationed away from the home, deck railings, and any low-hanging tree branches or plants.
The most important thing to remember is to never leave the grill unattended, especially if you have children and pets. The second most important safety item is to remember to keep the grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup. You can also clean or replace any trays that sit below the grill and collect food waste, oil and other grill debris.
Propane can be found in both liquid and gas form. Because it is naturally odorless, an additive is added to the gas to give it a distinct odor to help people identify when the gas is around. Propane, when stored under pressure, is a liquid. When you hook up a propane tank to a gas grill, the tank is opened, which allows propane gas to leave the tank and power the grill. Liquid propane is very cold — so cold that it can cause freeze burns if it comes into contact with skin.
The way you store propane is important. A propane tank should always be stored and transported upright, and proper propane storage requires the tank be in a temperature-controlled area. If you store a propane tank in an area that’s susceptible to high temperatures, there is a risk of the pressure-release valve opening and releasing gas, which creates a fire hazard.
When transporting propane, make sure the pressure-release valve is closed and that there is cap or plug over the valve outlet. Tanks should always be transported in an upright position, sitting on the tank’s foot. During transport, the tank should be secured, even if it’s empty. You can secure the tank with a safety strap, seat belt or some kind of other container to prevent the tank from tipping over.
It’s important to remember not to transport more than four propane tanks at a time inside an enclosed vehicle. It is safe to carry more than four if you are transporting the tanks in the bed of a truck and they are secured to prevent escape.
Fire Pit Tips
Sitting beside a fire pit, enjoying a drink, roasting marshmallows or just listening to the crackle of the wood can be some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of the summer. Fire pits are a great outdoor accessory, but they do require an amount of safety to operate.
A fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure or combustible surface. Unless the owner’s manual says it’s OK, do not put a fire pit on grass, a wood deck, or in an enclosed deck or porch.
When it comes time to light the fire, be sure to always burn dry, seasoned wood that was cut at least six months earlier. In order to prevent sparks, keep logs no longer than three-quarters of the pit’s diameter. When starting the fire, don’t use gasoline, lighter fluid or kerosene, as these are not meant for fire pits! Use a fire starter or newspaper and kindling.
Do not light a fire in windy conditions, and it’s important to remember to stay up-to-date with burn bans or burn ordinances in your area. If the pit is located in an area near trees or bushes, pick up any leaves or combustible material from around the pit before starting your fire. Keep a bucket of sand, a fire extinguisher or a garden hose nearby in case things get out of control.
Tagged: barbecue safety, fire pit, fire safety, Jon McCreath, propane safety, summer safety