It’s summer! YAY! School’s out, the sun’s out and it’s time for some fun. Whether you are heading to the pool for the day or having a BBQ don’t forget safety! Here at Window Nation we want to take a moment to remind you about grill safety. Whether you’re grilling on a propane grill, charcoal grill or use a fire pit, safety should be first and foremost on your mind.

Outdoor grilling requires fire. Fire can have a mind of its own and can be all consuming. The National Fire Protection Association states that on average 8,800 house fires are caused by grilling incidences. In 2012 there were 16,000 emergency room visits stemming from grilling. Believe it or not, 16,000 is actually less than the average amount here in the US which has been hovering around 18,000 annually. Either way, both of these numbers are too many, way too many.

The two most popular types of grills are propane and charcoal. Propane grills add another concern to grilling to go along with the actual cooking fire, a bottle of highly flammable gas. Propane is a very clean burning and safe fuel source for outdoor grilling. The Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association has a web page dedicated to gas grill safety and their number one tip for consumers is to be sure that your propane cylinders are safe and easy to use. A visual inspection of the condition of the tank itself as well as all the gas lines to the grill is crucial. Over time tanks can become damaged which can affect its ability to contain the propane safely. Each year propane exchange companies, as well as propane filling station handle thousands of propane cylinders. Each one of these facilities have professional on staff that are trained to handle, test and fill propane cylinders. At home, you should always check your propane lines before each grill use, especially if the grill has been moved. These lines can become jostled and actually become unattached and cause a leak that can be extremely dangerous. Your owner’s manual for your grill should have specific instructions for lighting, maintenance and proper care of your grill.

Charcoal grills have a different feel than propane grills. Some people say that a charcoal grill is more authentic than propane grills. While this purely an opinion, charcoal grills remain a popular choice. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association also has a web page dedicated solely to the safety of charcoal grills. The number one concern with charcoal grills is the correct handling of the fuel for the potential fire. Liquid lighter fluid seems to be the default ignition source for lighting charcoal briquettes. It is not safe to ever squirt or dump liquid lighter fluid onto charcoal that is burning or warm. The fire can quickly climb back up the lighter fluid and onto you or anything that is around you. The safest way to light charcoal with lighter fluid is to form a pyramid with your briquettes, and douse with lighter fluid. Then wait until all the fluid has soaked into the charcoal before lighting. Be sure to consult your grill manual for specific lighting instructions.

Many campgrounds and public camping and grilling areas have fire pits or fire rings in place for grilling. Be sure to check with the facility to see what exact fuel sources and rules are in place for utilizing these.

Above all, with grills think safety first. Our most popular grilling occasions are the Fourth of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. No one wants to put a damper on these holidays with a grill incidence where someone or something gets injured due to grill carelessness. ALWAYS consult your grill’s manual about proper maintenance and procedures. Many grill owners do not know the proper procedures for grill placement and use. There are too many houses with melted vinyl siding and way too many house fires that begin with grill mis-handling. Protect yourself, your family and your property by practicing safe grilling this summer.