Plan to grill this week or weekend? Many New Yorkers are planning to enjoy their barbecues and other outdoor amenities for 4th of July celebrations. And while gas grills, portable fire pits, and patio heaters make outdoor spaces comfortable places to gather, it's important that they are used properly.
The New York Propane Gas Association helps consumers keep grilling season safe with an interactive online module on grilling from the Propane Education & Research Council atwww.propanesafety.com/grilling-safety. Consumers learn proper grilling procedures using propane, in English or Spanish, and it takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
A new component is "Safety for Kids."The grilling area should be designated as a "No Play Zone," keeping kids and pets away from the equipment. To help kids learn about gas grill safety, the Propane Education & Research Council has launched a fun interactive website, www.propanekids.com.
Some key safety tips include:
Always keep the lid open when lighting your grill. Don't close it until you are sure the grill is lit.
Keep the grill in a well-ventilated outdoor area, at least 10 feet away from the house - and at least 3 feet away from trees and shrubs.
Never cover the bottom of the grill with foil - it can restrict air circulation.
Always use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright position.
After filling or exchanging a cylinder, take it home immediately. While transporting the cylinder, keep your vehicle ventilated and the valve closed or capped. Do not leave the cylinder in your vehicle.
Firing Up The Grill Safely:
Never use matches or lighters to check for leaks. And never use starter fluid with propane grills.
Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder, and keep all flammable materials away from the grill.
If the grill does not ignite within 10 seconds, turn off the gas, keep the lid open and wait five minutes before trying again. If the igniter fails to light the grill after two or three tries, turn off the gas and replace the igniter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Regularly check the tubes that lead into the burner for blockage from insects or food grease.
Never attempt to repair, clean or clear blockages on a hot grill.
General Safety Tips:
Always have one person in charge of the fire at all times. Never leave a hot grill unattended.
Never attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See a propane gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person. Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer's consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.
If you smell gas and you are able to, safely turn off the cylinder vale, turning it to the right (clockwise). Immediately leave the area and call 911 or your local fire department. Before you use the grill again, have a qualified service technician inspect your cylinder.
Propane is a safe, clean, versatile and highly efficient fuel that can be used for other outdoor products to help extend the summer season. Propane is not only the barbecuing fuel of choice, it is also environmentally friendly. The Environmental Protection Agency recognizes propane as a clean-burning gas that releases 105 times less carbon monoxide than charcoal.
About the New York Propane Gas Association
NYPGA is a member-focused trade organization providing services that communicate, educate and promote the propane industry in New York. The association was formed in 1948 to offer opportunities for training and networking with peers, and to aid with legislative issues that contribute to operating a safe and successful industry.
Editor's note: The opinions here are those of the NYPGA. Grill safely - and at your own risk.