Many of us have gas grills at our houses, yours truly included, but how many of you aware of the dangers involved with these things? Earlier this month, a taco truck in Philadelphia was blown to pieces due to a leak in the propane tank. Twelve injured, five critically. Wow! Could something like this happen at your house?
Actually, according to investigators, it happens more often than you think. How about this…7,000 gas grill fires every year due to leaking propane. This according to the National Fire Prevention Association.
Last year, Byron Fuchs was grilling for a Fourth of July party at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida. He bent over to light his propane barbecue when there was an explosion, engulfing his body in a wall of fire. "As soon as I did it, I looked down at my arm and I saw the skin melt off," he said.
Turns out he left the propane on too long, which caused it to build up inside the grill and ultimately ignite. A closed lid on a propane grill, with the gas turned on, is an accident waiting to happen. Never ignite your grill with the lid closed.
This guy got second-degree burns on his arms as well as other burns on his legs, "and of course my face, my hair caught on fire," he said. And he isn't alone: If you were to do a youtube search of propane grill mishaps, you would be amazed at what you find. Take a look at this video that I found just so you can get an idea how powerful a blast can actually be.
Something else you can do to test for leaks is the old soapy water test. Spray your hoses and connections with the soapy water and if you see bubbles, guess what, you have a leak that needs to be fixed. The industry says grills are safe if used properly. And experts say there is even more you can do. Here are some other tips that are usually printed somewhere on your grill or propane tank. Read and heed!
If you keep hitting the igniter switch and your barbecue doesn't light right away, don't keep hitting it: Shut off the gas completely, and wait three to five minutes before trying to light it again. If gas has built up, that will give it time to dissipate.
Also, keep your grill at least three feet away from your house: That way, if there is a fire, it doesn't spread.
And, of course, follow the instructions on your grill or propane tank — they're always printed right on the side.