Barbecue safety tips from GFAFB Fire Department

  • Published
  • By Fire Prevention Office
  • Grand Forks Air Force Base Fire Department
Now that the sun is out and the grass is green, it is a sure sign that spring is here. Since you just tested your smoke detector and practiced your home escape plan, it is time to get your grill ready. You did test your smoke detector, didn't you?

Before you light it, give your grill a good spring cleaning and inspection. Start by spraying soapy water on the connections and supply lines. If you see bubbles, it means gas is leaking. Turn off the tank and try re-connecting the supply lines. If it still bubbles, then gas is still leaking. Shut off the tank and get the leak repaired. Next, if your supply lines are good, check and clean out the venture tubes that deliver the gas to the burner. If they get plugged up, the gas will get diverted elsewhere, and could start a fire under your grill instead of in it. Finally, remove the grates and lava rocks, and check out the burner. If it looks good visually, then fire it up and make sure that you have an even flame throughout. If not, then replace the burners. Most burners only last one or two seasons, depending on how much you use your barbecue.

If you use a charcoal barbecue grill, use only charcoal lighter fluid. Never use gasoline or other highly flammable liquids to ignite the coals. A one-and-a-half ounce of vaporized gasoline has the explosive power of a stick of dynamite! Also, toxins from burning gasoline may poison your food.

Remember that charcoal can actually remain hot for several days after they are ignited. The recommended way of safely disposing of them is to place them in a metal bucket (such as a five gallon can) and thoroughly soaking the charcoal with water. Let charcoal sit for at least 12 hours. After 12 hours, the charcoal can then safely be thrown away in an approved trash receptacle.

Whether gas or charcoal, barbecue grills must be placed in a clear location, with at least 10 feet of separation from structures, decks, fences or other combustible/flammable materials. Never use them in a garage or other enclosed space or directly under carports.

Finally and most importantly, never leave cooking unattended!!! Whether indoors or out, smokers or fryers, propane or charcoal barbecue's, an adult should always be there to monitor for fire safety.

If you have any fire safety questions, contact the Fire Prevention office at (701)747-4174.