It's summer and millions of backyard chefs are ready to fire up their grills and start cooking for family reunions, barbeques, pool parties and get-togethers. Before you start cooking, make sure you understand the potential dangers of cooking on a gas-powered grill. Although useful, efficient and easy to use, gas-powered grills can be dangers if not properly maintained or operated correctly. Generally speaking gas grills use propane gas or liquid petroleum (LP). Both of these substances are highly flammable. As with any flammable liquid or explosive substance, you must exercise extreme caution. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 600 fires and explosions are caused by gas grills across the nation on an annual basis.
Statistically, these accidents result in 30 injuries every year and substantial property damage. In 1995, grills were manufactured with limited safety features. These features included a device to stifle the gas flow if the hose accidentally ruptured; an emergency shut-off mechanism; a feature designed to stop gas flow when the grill is not leak proof. In 2002, grill tanks were designed with features to prevent over-filling. These devices helped consumer avoid fires and explosions. Even still, these requirements do not prevent hundreds of fire and explosion accidents from happening every year. As a consumer, make sure that you understand the proper safety procedures to follow when grilling. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following precautions:
- Always make sure that your grill hose is in good condition. Cracks, holes and leaks can easily cause an accident. Watch out for sharp pends in the hose or tubing; these could lead to cracks or a buildup of propane in the hosing.
- Make sure that the hose is kept far away from the grill surface and dripping grease. Hot grease and sparks from the heated grill surface could easily cause a fire or explosion.
- Never store a propane container on its side or upside down. Propane containers must always be store upright. Any other position could result in a leak, fire or explosion.
- Store spare propane gas containers away from the grill. Additionally, never store spare containers in your house - this is dangerous and could lead to an accident.
- Any type of flammable substances or liquid (such as gasoline) should be kept far away from the grill. Do not store these liquids and substances near the grill.
- Gasoline and propane containers should never be store in a car or trunk. Trunks and cars heat up, which can cause pressure in the container to increase. Containers stored in cars, trunks and other hot spaces may leak.
- Always check to make sure that you spark igniter is generating a consistent spark. If it isn't, the propane gas may be escaping the can and could cause an explosion. If you cannot see the flame, gas may be escaping the