Who doesn’t love long days of backyard barbecues in the summer?
Dusting off your propane grill after a long period of cooking indoors is exciting, but can also prove to be an explosion and fire hazard.
You don’t want to spend any minute of your summer injured or worrying about getting injured.
The risk of a grill fire is real. During a four-year period, an estimated average of 10,600 fires occurred annually due to grilling accidents.
This has led to the death or injury of over 170 people every year and $149 million worth of property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
A gas explosion can leave you with severe burns on your face, arms, and legs. The most dangerous injuries are:
- Burn injuries to the head and face
- Loss of eyesight or hearing
- Burn injuries to the fingers, hands, and arms
- Spinal cord injury or organ damage
- Fractures in the lower body
- Poisoning due to monoxide
- Loss of limbs if the tank explodes
The problem is that you might mistake the gas grill for a fool-proof way to use fire and gas. It is a safe way to cook, provided you keep a few safety tips in mind.
So here’s your guide to propane grilling hazards. Follow these important safety considerations to remain worry-free and enjoy a safe grilling season:
1. Check for Leaks
Test your gas tank hose for any leakage each year when using the tank for the first time. If there is a leak, any source of ignition can cause an explosion.
The hose that delivers propane to the grill could be old, dry, and cracked from storage. You should check it, along with the connections between the gas cylinder and the hose.
Apply a light soap and water solution to the cylinder hose. This can quickly reveal if there is escaping gas by releasing bubbles.
Be very cautious if at first the BBQ electronic igniter does not light. You may have a bigger problem than an unused and cold gas grill.
Also, use the soapy water test to check for leaks that are too small to identify with a visual inspection: Spray all your grill’s lines and the cylinder with a soap and water solution.
If you see the mixture bubbling, that means you have a gas leak there. You either need to tighten up your tank’s hose and connections or you need to replace the parts.
If you discover a leak, you should never assume it’s too small to worry about. You need to repair it before using the BBQ.
2. Be Aware of Propane Odors
Gas naturally has no odor so, for safety, ethyl mercaptan, with an odor of rotten eggs, is added to it. The odorant allows you to notice if propane leaks.
Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to smell the odor. The cause may be mistakes in filling a new tank or various other reasons.
If you did not smell gas before an explosion, there was odor fade or the gas might have been improperly odorized. Mistakes in adding the odorant may happen.
Gas companies have been taken to court over reportedly undetectable propane leaks.
3. Stop Using Your Grill if There is a Smell or Leak
In case of detecting a gas smell or suspecting a leak when the barbecue is not working, stop using it and the propane tank.
If the gas leak persists, report it to your propane retailer or call 911. You may need the services of a technician to diagnose the problem and repair it before you can use your grill and tank again.
If you’re cooking and detect the smell of gas, leave the area and call 911. Don’t stop to look for the leak.
4. Keep the Lid Open When Lighting
Never light your grill with the lid down. Gas can build up, and when you ignite it, the lid may explode and cause serious injuries.
You should also always shut off the gas cylinder valve properly when it’s not in use – when you stop using the grill, make sure you properly turn off the valve on the propane tank.
5. Proper Storage
After you safely clean your grill, never store it and the cylinder inside or near your house. You need to carefully store it outdoors to prevent overheating and gas leakage.
Nicer weather is on its way but, before you fire up the grill for some cooking, ensure that you follow these safety tips in order to stay safe and avoid injuries this summer.
About the author:
Sean M. Cleary is a product liability attorney who works with investigators and experts to help
injured clients get the compensation they deserve after undergoing suffering and losses. He is
the founder and president of The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, based in Miami, Florida. Sean
approaches defective propane tank cases intending to get the best settlement possible through his knowledge and professionalism.