You might think that the worst thing to come out of a mishandled grill or barbecue is a burnt steak or underdone hamburger, but you’d be wrong. In fact, if you don’t treat these tools with the care and respect they deserve, they can cause some major damage to life, limb, and property. According to Guy Uren, who commands Adelaide, Australia’s Metropolitan Fire Service, the most common accidents to arise out of improperly cared-for or mishandled barbecues are gas leaks and fires. The list below shows how you can mitigate such catastrophes.

Taking Care of Your Grill or Barbecue

After such dire pronouncements about the necessities of proper grill / barbecue care, it’s time to explain just how to get the job done! Below, you’ll find a checklist of steps you can take to keep your cooking tools working safely and efficiently.

Pre-Cook Rundown

* Check the dates on your current gas cylinders and replace them periodically (at least once every decade). Exchange any cylinders that are damaged beyond slight scuffs and dings.

* Give the hoses on your grill / barbecue a thorough inspection and swap them out if you notice any cracks, splits, or other signs of age or use-based deficiency. Ditto for the o-rings at all connection points. Experts recommend simply replacing the entire regulator assembly if you find a problem at any point in this inspection, as both external and internal parts will degrade over time, increasing the likelihood of poor performance and accidents.

* Check all hoses, connection points, and regulators for gas leaks using the bubble test.

* Scrub your barbecue before its first use of the season and after every cook, making sure to empty the fat tray after each use.

Gas-Specific Tips

* Keep all hoses away from parts that burn – melting is bad!

* Only grill / barbecue in well-ventilated spaces.

* Raise the hood on your barbecue before you light it if it has one.

* Do a leak check every time you swap canisters before you start cooking!

* Know the difference between gases.

Solid Fuel-Specific Instructions

* Keep fire starting materials away from children.

* Don’t use accelerants, and don’t burn unauthorized fuel types like treated timber, as the fumes are poisonous and you might start an uncontrolled fire by accident.

* Take care when disposing of ashes and related waste materials; cold ashes are the only safe ashes!

General Tips

* Keep kids and pets away from the grill / barbecue while it’s in operation.

* Always wear suitable clothing – a shirt, footwear, and shorts, for instance – when operating your barbecue.

* During wildfire season (if applicable for your area), make sure to check for advisories, bans, and the like before firing up your grill.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know how to protect yourself and your loved ones during barbecue season, it’s time to start cooking! Thanks for reading, stay safe, and have fun out there!