I just finished doing what I like to do most on a warm Ohio evening, burn food beyond recognition on my gas grill. You have to understand that I do not like to cook, at all! If it can't fit in a microwave, I ordered it over the phone. Not that I don't like a home cooked meal, its just finding the time to purchase the food, prepare the food and then cook it - brother, I would rather grout a tub. But, there is one thing I enjoy cooking or should I say there is one type of cooking I enjoy the most; outdoor grilling on my gas grill. I pride myself on my onion hamburgers, a recipe given to me by Shari’s husband Bruce.
Recently while I was preparing the traditional hot dog madness feast, a well-honored tradition in the Fox family. I got to thinking about grill safety, was I really doing the right thing with my grill and was I really safe? I remembered in my files (that big pile of papers on my desk) that I had a news release from the Fire Marshal of the state of Ohio, Larry Flowers, regarding safety precautions when using gas grills. I thought it would be a good idea to give you some of that information in this article. All kidding aside, the gas grill, as fun as it gets, is still a major appliance that needs maintenance and care while using.
Most gas grills are fueled by liquefied petroleum gas or propane. Unburned gas accidentally released or leaking from a gas grill can cause a dangerous fire or explosion. Problems that lead to fires or explosions commonly occur at two times: during the first use of a grill after a long period of storage and when a new cylinder of propane gas is attached to the grill.
Fire Marshal Flowers asks grill users to follow these safety precautions while using your gas grill:
*Inspect grills closely prior to the first summertime use, you should have already done this, but give it a mid summer check up. Check the metal tubes that lead directly to the burner. During storage, insects can block these tubes. They can be cleaned following the manufacturer's instructions, typically by using a pipe cleaner or wire to remove any blockage.
*Check hoses for cracks or holes and replace any hose that appears to be damaged. Remove any sharp bends that you may find in the hose.
*Follow your grill manufacturer's instructions for checking the connection to the cylinder every time a new cylinder is connected to the grill. An easy way to do this is to tighten the connection and then apply a soapy water solution around the connection. If bubbles appear, the connection is leaking. Turn the cylinder off, reconnect the cylinder and check again.
*Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the grill yourself. See a gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair technician.
*Never attempt to connect a cylinder to a grill unless they have matching connections.
*If you smell gas, turn the grill off immediately and do not use it until the problem can be corrected.
*Keep your grill on a flat level surface, 10 feet from any building. A grill should not be used under a carport or breezeway. NEVER use a grill inside.
*Do not move a grill that is in use.
*Always open the lid of a grill before igniting it with an electric igniter.
These are just a few tips that a good griller should follow. I know that we don't always think about these things, especially when we are in the middle of trying to have a good time. I just wanted to point out that the grill has the potential to be a safety hazard, and with a few steps taken by you, you will have hours of grilling pleasure.
Wow, I'd better go check out my grill; I need to replace the tank. That hot dog feast uses up a lot of gas. My special thanks to the Ohio Department of Commerce and to State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers for helping me prepare this article.