Pillar-to-Post Home Inspections always has great info to share. Thanks to them for providing us with some of the ideas for this information on barbecues and grilling safety.
Calgarians are big on barbecues all year long and hopefully this is a timely reminder. I can't tell you how many homes I've been to this year that have had damage to their vinyl siding or latticework from barbecues. There have been more than just a few. A lot of people don't realize how dangeroust their natural gas, propane or charcoal barbecue can be when it's used too close to the outside walls or deck rails of their homes or apartment balconies.
Gas or charcoal grills should be located no close than 3 metres (10 feet) from any structure. Radiant heat is invisible. Never use a grill or barbecue under a porch, deck, overhang, carport, in the garage or any other enclosed area. Make sure it sits on a stable surface and can't be tipped over.
Never use a propane, natural gas or charcoal grills indoors.
Check the hoses and all connections on the gas grills regularly. Replace any cracked or brittle hoses right away and before using the appliance. Propane cylinders should never be stored indoors, inside a garage or other structure and should not be stored in a sunken area. Propane is heavier than air and if there is a leak, will pool in confined area - causing an extreme hazard.
Always have an appropriate, portable fire-extinguisher available.
While lighting and cooking on the grill, do not wear clothes that are extremely loose-fitting or that have wide sleeves that could easily catch fire. Use long-handled utensils to handle food while cooking.
While lighting a gas grill, light it with the lid open.
Once the grill is lit, never leave it unattended.
Reduce flare-ups by lowering the heat on the gas grill. With charcoal grills, remove the food and grill and re-distribute the coals. If necessary, the occasional flare-up can be put out with water from a spray bottle, but remove the food from the grill first to help avoid smoke contamination.
To help prevent grease fires, keep your grill clean and remove any accumulation of grease, debrie and residue inside the grill unit and inside the lid. Clean these areas at least once every five to six uses. Regularly clean the grease catcher. Baking soda can be used to extinguish a grease fire that may be still contained within the grill unit.
Always - keep pets and children away from the grill during and after cooking. The grill's exterior can remain hot for quite a long time after cooking. You don't want them to get burned or for them to accidentally knock over the grill while it is still hot.
When turning off gas grills, turn off the grill at the burner valves as well as at the propane tank or natural gas supply line.
When disposing of charcoal or charcoal ashes, wait until they are completely cold. Closing the air vents and covering with the lid may smother the fire quicker, but the coals will likely remain hot and capable for starting a fire for hours.