Spring is here, and you know what that means. It’s barbecue season!
Yes, spring is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy a classic American barbecue feast. Don’t spend all your time indoors with spring cleaning: Be sure you reward yourself by getting outside in the sun!
For those of us in Central Florida, spring weather is ideal for a barbecue any time of the day. You don’t want to wait until the depths of summer when the days are long and the mid-day sun can be intense.
But don’t forget to take time for safety despite the excitement to get started.
A single ember from your grill blown into the wind can ignite yard waste or even your roof.
Let’s consider some of the most valuable safety precautions for Florida barbecues:
1. Keep Your Grill at Least Ten Feet from Any Structures
No matter if you’re barbecuing out on the deck or on the yard itself, be sure to keep the grill ten feet from any structures. That includes the deck railing, your home, garage, sheds, or Fido’s dog house. When in doubt, further away is better.
If shade is an issue, consider using a metallic grill shelter that isn’t flammable and provides protection directly over your grill. This also helps ensure that if something tumbles from a window or the roof’s eaves, it won’t end up in your food.
2. Be Extra Careful When Smoking Outdoors
Especially in dry weather, a spark can do a lot of damage and a lone ember can travel a long way. If you smoke while outside, be sure to completely stub used cigarettes out in the ashtray. Put a little force into it to really crush those “butts,” then take a moment to be sure you don’t see any flame.
Remember, even in a metallic ashtray, cigarette debris can spill out and cause a fire risk. If you want to be 100% sure about outdoor smoking safety, use a spray bottle of water you can squirt to completely douse cigarette remnants after use.
This is also helpful for removing gristle that would otherwise continue burning on the grill and release excess smoke. Dripping fat will eventually burn away when left on the grill, but it’s crucial not to leave it unattended. A quick spritz will knock out any smoldering byproducts much more quickly.
3. Look Out for Your Roof’s Eaves
Naturally, you don’t want anything hot to come in contact with your roof overhang. Even if you have a residential metal roof – which is fireproof – you should still stay far from the eaves of your roof. That’s because all kinds of unwanted things could fall and end up near (or in!) your barbecue grill.
It’s a wise idea to inspect your eaves once a month and after heavy weather. Likewise, make clearing out the gutters part of your spring cleaning routine. This will keep you aware of any emerging issues, such as birds or other animals making homes there. The sooner you respond, the easier it is to take care of.
4. Situate Your Grill on a Flat, Level Surface
It might seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: Be sure your grill is on flat, level ground, preferably not soft dirt or sand. You may have to act quickly if something falls onto or into the grill, and jostling it can make the situation worse in a hurry. If dogs or other animals will be joining you, be sure they’re on a leash – they find your grilled treats just as enticing as you do.
5. Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Hand
Fire extinguishers can be rated “A,” “ABC,” “BC,” or “K.” The ratings refer to different kinds of fires:
- Class A: Solid combustibles like paper, wood, or cloth
- Class B: Flammable liquids like alcohol, grease, and gas
- Class C: Electrical equipment, wiring, and appliances
- Class K: Kitchen fires involving flammable cooking oils
An “ABC” fire extinguisher is filled with a dry chemical that works on all classes of fire, partially by smothering it to deprive it of oxygen. The type “K” fire extinguisher is specifically for grease fires. However, its use outside of these situations is limited.
Avoid using a class “A” fire extinguisher for your grill. It relies on pressured water and can cause fires to grow if used in unsuitable situations. Whenever you use a fire extinguisher, be sure to stand well back from the target to avoid tipping the grill and spreading the fire.
Need a roofer this spring? Contact Sheegog Contracting today.