It was a balmy late spring evening in May of 2012 when a group of families gathered for a barbeque and a swim in the backyard. The pork shoulder had been smoking all day on the grill, and one of the attendees decided it was time to throw on the crab rolls he and his wife had brought to share and enjoy.
He attached the gas to the grill and attempted to light it. For some reason, even though the gas was on the grill wouldn’t light, even after the old tank was swapped for a fresh one. Someone suggested they forget about the gas, and just use another piece of wood on the coals and cook the crab cakes that way.
Our man decided to do just that, and as he attempted to open the lid of the grill it exploded. He was engulfed in flame and was burned over 30% of his upper body, face, and arms.
While this particular case is unusual and had many contributing factors, other accidents are likely to occur next week as many of us gather to celebrate the founding of our nation. While we gather with friends and family there are important factors to take into account to ensure your safety and the safety of your guests and family.
Barbecue Safety Tips
- Stay out in the open. One obvious potential area for danger is, of course, the grill. While we all love the aromas of outdoor cooking, you are literally playing with fire during a barbecue. Make sure your grill is located in an open area and there are no overhanging trees or branches. This reduces the potential for something nearby getting unintentionally heated or catching fire, and gives you and anyone else using the grill room to work.
- Clear out the debris.A long with making sure you’re out in an open area, you need to make sure that any debris, like twigs, and leaves are clear of the area you’re working in. You don’t want to accidentally light anything on fire with the heat of your grill, especially if it has the potential to blow into a more populated area of the party and injure a guest.
- Test your equipment beforehand. If you take out the grill and light it up a few days ahead of time, you can make sure it’s in the proper working order for the party. Double check any hoses and connections for leaks or improper seals as well. You should also check to make sure it’s clean, and that your gas tanks are full. No one wants to try to find a place selling propane when you should be enjoying the company of your guests.
- Keep the air flowing. Make sure your grill has proper ventilation and, especially if it’s a gas grill, that all the burners have been cleaned beforehand. Improper ventilation can lead to a buildup of flammable gases and materials and can lead to an explosion like the one described above. Making sure your grill is able to properly vent not only decreases this risk, but keeps the fire inside burning better, and decreases your cook times.
- Have safety devices close at hand. Whether it’s a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water, or both, make sure you have a way to quickly douse the fire and cool off the grill in case anything does go awry.
- Pay attention to what you’re doing. While we know that conversing with friends and family is one of the highlights of the evening, if you’re not paying attention to your food or properly tending the fire, you open yourself up to missing something that may cause a problem. By keeping an eye on your grilling, and minimizing distractions, you not only ensure greater safety, you’ll make sure you’re serving burgers and not briquets.
- Keep the kids and pets away. No one will ever claim it’s possible to herd children, but if you make sure that the area around the grill is off-limits at all times, then it won’t be an issue when the burgers and dogs are sizzling. As for our four-legged friends, it may be a bit more difficult, but encourage them to stay away during the party by keeping their food and water bowls full, and as far away as possible. You may even consider locking them up for the duration of the party (the pets, not the kids.)
- Don’t over indulge. The Fourth of July is one of the biggest weekends for DUI stops. But even if you’re throwing the party and not driving home, you need to watch how much you consume. Drinking slows your reactions and can make you clumsy. Keep your intake down, and you’re less likely to do any lasting damage.
We hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July and the extended weekend that many of you are getting with it. We wish you a safe and happy holiday, and we hope these simple tips will ensure that you have the good times that each of you deserve.
Wooten Kimbrough,P.A., Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys