You know it’s summer when the aroma of a hot grill floats across your backyard. Getting friends and family together for a barbecue party is one of the nicest ways to spend time, have fun, and make memories. However, where there’s fire or heat, things can go wrong in a flash. Too often, unfortunately, those memories are tarnished by costly accidents.
Here are some ways to make sure you stay safe and enjoy your grills all summer long.
Check Your Equipment
When was the last time you checked your equipment? It may have been working fine last time you used it, but that doesn’t mean your gas grill will still be fine when you go back to it months later. Follow these steps to make sure everything is in good shape before you fire it up:
- Check the connections between the tank, regulator and burners. They should be nice and tight so if they’ve worked loose, tighten them up.
- Check the hose. Even small punctures can cause fires from escaping gas, so don’t rely on your eyes alone. Turn the gas on, then brush a light soap solution along the length of the hose. Escaping gas will form air bubbles and you’ll know there’s a leak.
- If you see bubbles, turn the gas off to check if it stops. If so, simply get your grill serviced. If it doesn’t stop it means the gas is still escaping because the connectors aren’t working properly. Gas leaks are dangerous, so call the fire department.
One final word regarding gas grills – if you suddenly smell gas while you’re cooking, call the fire department and clear the area around the grill. Gas leaks and flames create unstable conditions, so don’t try to move the grill yourself.
These are a favorite with many people, because they give your meat that nice, flame-cooked flavor. Providing you don’t tip the grill over, once the charcoal is lit they’re safe if you use the correct cooking utensils. Observing these safety measures will help:
- Always use a charcoal fluid if you prefer liquid starters.
- Once the charcoal is lit, don’t be tempted to hurry it along by adding more fuel.
- Use an outdoor extension cord with electric charcoal starters, not an indoor cord that is unsuitable for the conditions.
When you’ve finished grilling, give the coals plenty of time to cool completely before you dispose of them.
When Things Do Go Wrong
Accidents happen. If there’s an accident during your barbecue, try not to panic. Here are some tips on the kinds of things that might happen and what you should do:
Getting something in your eye is painful but need not be serious if you follow these procedures:
- If you can see the object on the white of the eye, gently swab it out with a damp tissue. The object should cling to the end of a tissue and come out cleanly.
- For objects on the iris or pupil, flush the eye with water. If the object won’t come out, call for medical help. Wearing dark glasses may help ease irritation.
- Always use only soft items to remove object from eyes, like damp tissues or cotton swabs. Hard objects such as tweezers or toothpicks can cause more damage.
- Don’t rub the affected eye since this can cause scratches on the cornea (the outer surface of the eye).
Minor burns don’t normally need emergency room treatment, but if you’re unsure how serious a burn is, you should seek professional advice.
- Move away from the source of heat and remove fabric from the burn area as this can trap heat.
- Treat the burn area with cool, slow-running water. Use the sink indoors or a hose outside. Keep the water running over the burn for as long as possible.
- Gently dry the area (dab, don’t rub) and apply an antibacterial ointment. It’s an old wives tale that butter can help a burn. Butter or any other oil-based substance will trap heat and make it worse.
- As the burn heals, keep it covered to prevent infection.
If you’re in any doubt, or burns are on the face or genitals, seek medical advice.
Think grilling at home is too hot to handle? Head out for some delicious BBQ food at these local places and let others take the heat:
- Fainmous BBQ – Mouthwatering Tennessee-style BBQ, open every day except Sunday.
- Brooks’ Place – Boasting the best BBQ in Northwest Houston, they’re open every day except Monday and Tuesday.
- Virgie’s Bar-B-Que – Promising a ‘real pit BBQ’ that’ll tickle your taste buds, Virgie’s is open Tuesday to Saturday for good food and country music.
Some other options are:
- Goode Co
- Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ
- Houston BBQ Company
However you decide to enjoy your BBQ this summer, be sure to stay aware of your surroundings, and be safe!