Memorial Day is almost here, and a beautiful season of barbequing has already begun in the San Antonio area. My neighbors and I all love to grill, but have you ever noticed how many people have their BBQ grills right next to the house? It provides convenience, but it can also be a pretty serious fire risk.
BBQ grill related fires cause an average of $79 million dollars of damage a year. In fact, between 2003 and 2006, the U.S. Fire Protection Association reported just under 8000 fires that were caused by outdoor grills!
Here are some outdoor cooking rules to live by:
1. Don’t forget the fire extinguisher. You should always keep one near your grill in case of emergencies.
2. Keep children away from BBQ grills. Grills and children can both be unpredictable, so it’s best that they avoid contact all together.
3. Vinyl or wood siding and grills do NOT mix. Fired-up grills must be placed at least 10 feet away from the house, or vinyl siding will melt (which also releases toxic gases). A close proximity to wood siding could easily lead to the wood catching on fire and burning (since that’s what wood does).
4. Choose a rock or cement surface to put your grill on, away from any dry grass, shrubs, or trees. A lot of homeowners prefer to grill on their wooden deck, but since one-third of grill-related fires happen right there, it’s probably not the best place to do that. Also, if a deck or grass catch fire, that will also cause vinyl siding to melt as the heat increases (even from farther away than 10 feet).
5. Never grill in the garage. Anything that burns releases carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Garages are also where many flammable and combustible materials are stored, and adding heat to the mix could cause an explosion.
6. Properly maintain your grill by checking for gas leaks. By pouring water over the connection between the grill and propane tank, you can see if it releases bubbles of gas, signifying a leak.
For the avid barbecue griller, we highly recommend choosing a type of siding that won’t melt or burn. If you have HardiePlank siding, your home is much more resistant to heat and fire. It is made from 90% sand and cement, so it is not flammable. If you’d like to see what happens to vinyl, wood, and HardiePlank siding in the presence of fire, check out this video.
Of course, no matter what kind of siding you have, it is always wise to follow fire safety rules. Happy (and safe) grilling!