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10 Tips For Safe Grilling

Male chef cooking pork ribs on grill at BBQ party. Roasted meat with crispy crust and sauce, closeup

Memorial Day isn’t only the official kick-off for summer BBQ…it’s the start of grill fire season too! Let’s stay safe this Memorial Day Weekend by following these 10 Tips For Safe Grilling:

1. Grill Outside.

Both gas & charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide and other dangerous toxins. Always operate your grill outside. It should also be standing alone away from any flammable items/structures such as house siding, trees, dog house, garden shed, etc. You want the smoke to have an fully-area from which to escape.

2. Read Your Owner’s Manual.

There’s a reason your grill manufacturer provides an owner’s manual. Don’t throw it away or forget about it. You should always familiarize yourself with the correct operating procedures of your grill before using. Make sure your grill is assembled correctly with all parts secure and the grill is stable before cooking.

3. Protect Yourself.

Grilling gloves and utensils with long handles will keep your hands and arms safe when dealing with heat and flames. Avoid wearing loose or hanging clothing that could come in contact with the flames.

4. Clean thoroughly.

Fresh hamburgers being grilled.


Keeping your grill clean not only makes your food taste better, but reduces the risk of flare-ups. If you do encounter a flare-up:

  • Spread the coals out with a utensil on a charcoal grill.
  • Dial down the heat using the knobs on a gas grill.

Keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand or water nearby in case you need to put out a fire. Baking soda can help as well.

5. Do not leave grill unattended.

Don’t leave the grill unattended when flames are still present or the grill is still hot. Keep children and pets at a safe distance away — even after you’re finished cooking. 

6. Start gas grill with lid OPEN. 

Lighting your grill with a closed lid can cause a dangerous buildup of gas.

7. Lighter fluid is not a toy.

corn grill with nice dark char on ear of corn

Avoiding lighter fluid all together is the safest route to go. But if you must, only use charcoal lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill. Don’t keep adding it after the fire is started.

A better option is a chimney starter, which doesn’t require any lighter fluid.

8. Check the gas lines.

The fuel lines of gas grills can become pinched, twisted, clogged, torn, melted or otherwise manipulated. When this happens, the risk of a fire is escalated. Conduct a gas leak test at the beginning of every grilling season to ensure everything is in good working order.

Don’t delay if you ever smell gas while cooking — step away quickly and call the fire department. Always inspect your propane tank for signs of damage or wear before using.

9. Use the correct cords.

If you have an electric grill or electric accessories, only use an outdoor extension cord that is properly grounded.

10. Shut down the grill correctly.

Always wait for your grill to cool off before attempting to move it:
  • For a gas grill, this means turning off the burners and the fuel supply.
  • For a charcoal grill, wait for the coals to stop burning and cool down completely. 
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