With summer in full swing, the 4th of July is the perfect time to grill out with family and friends. Here are essential grill safety tips to help protect your home and loved ones during your next cookout.

Grilling Equipment and Tools

Whether you are using a gas grill or charcoal grill, you’ll want to make sure to have the proper tools. A few basics to keep in your grilling arsenal include:

  • Tool Kit: Tongs, Spatula, 2-Prong Fork
  • Grilling Apron
  • Grilling Basket
  • Meat Thermometer
  • Grill Light
  • Grill Brush
  • Charcoal and Chimney Starter (For Charcoal Grilling)

Having the right tools for your grill is key, but don’t forget to dress the part! Loose-fitting clothes can easily catch on fire and pose a danger when working around a grill. Instead tie long hair back and wear long sleeves and gloves to protect yourself from the fire.

Grill Safety Placement and Distance

Grill Safety Placement WIN Home Inspection

Once you have all of the proper equipment, it’s time to find the perfect spot to setup your grill. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Three foot rule. Make sure your grill is at least three feet away from anything that could be flammable like your house, deck, outdoor furniture, and trees. The heat from your grill can also melt and warp vinyl siding, so check the distance to protect your home.

Keep grill outside. Grilling in closed or poorly ventilated areas are not only a fire risk but can result in carbon monoxide poisoning no matter how large the space is. Know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning prior to lighting up your grill.

Find a level spot. Do not use your grill on an incline or uneven ground which could cause it to topple over.

Watch grill carefully. A lit grill should never be left unattended. Keep a close eye on children and pets, making sure they keep a safe distance away at all times.

Do not move a lit grill. Moving a lit grill can not only risk burning yourself or others but can also dislodge important grill components.

Charcoal Grill Safety Basics

Charcoal Grill Safety Basics WIN Home Inspection

Using a charcoal grill is a great option for backyard cooking, but poses a unique set of hazards. Follow these simple charcoal safety basics this holiday weekend:

Proper ventilation. Charcoal continues to produce carbon monoxide until the coals are completely extinguished. Always setup your charcoal grill in a well-ventilated area, and make sure that coal has cooled off completely before putting the grill away.

Lighting briquettes correctly. Follow the instructions on your charcoal or lighter fluid to safely light your grill and avoid harm. When lighting charcoal, make sure to use a grill lighter or match with a long nose, and light the coals in several places. Do not add more lighter fluid once the coals are lit or this can cause an explosion.

Disposal of charcoal. After the charcoal ashes have fully cooled, wrap them in aluminum foil or place them in a small metal container. Dispose of charcoal ashes and coals in an outdoor garbage bin. Do not dispose of ashes or coals in anything that could catch fire.

Grill Storage and Maintenance

Grill Storage and Maintenance WIN Home Inspection

Most grill fires can be prevented with some basic maintenance. When you are finished using your grill, be sure to:

Clean the grill.  Cleaning your grill and drip pan/tray after each use is the easiest way to prevent grill fires in the future.

Use a cover.  Covering your grill with a weatherproof grill cover will help keep dirt, debris, and moisture out. Make sure to let you grill cool completely before covering.

Store propane safely. During long periods of time when your gas grill is out of use, it is best to fully disconnect the propane tank and leave it outside. Propane tanks should never be stored indoors, in sheds, or garages.

Indoor Alternatives

There’s no doubt that grilling is a staple for summertime cooking. However, there are plenty of substitutes that can give your dish the same results if you don't have a grill at home. Here are a few alternatives for indoor grilling this holiday weekend!

  • A Griddle Pan
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Countertop Grill
  • A Broiler
  • Crock Pot BBQ
  • Smoking Seasonings for Flavor
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Indoor Smoker
  • Culinary Torch

Grilling out is a classic way to enjoy the summer weather and spend time with friends and family. With these basic precautions in place, you can make the most of your Independence Day BBQ while protecting your family, friends, and home. For more ideas and suggestions on how to protect your property, check out the rest of our helpful tips and articles here.