We’re all about safety at TheBBQDepot.com
If you are the owner of a charcoal grill, ashes are a part of your culinary experience.
While barbecuing can be one of summer’s greatest activities, it is unfortunate that the improper storage and disposal of ashes is one of the biggest problems of deck and house fires – especially during the hot and dry summer months. In order to make sure that you and your family have a safe time barbecuing, it is important that you follow the important steps in disposing of your ashes properly.
The most important steps to disposing your ashes is making sure that you give them adequate time to cool. If possible, keep the ashes in the same place for several days before trying to dispose of them. Embers can stay concealed under a pile of seemingly cold ashes, and can easily reignite a fire for several days after it has been extinguished.
A few things to remember before you start to dispose of your ashes:
- Never use a vacuum to suck up ashes
- Never put your ashes into a plastic container or bag
- Never put your ashes into a cardboard box
- Never place your ashes into a container that has previously held combustible fluids or fumes
Once your ashes have been adequate time to cool, transfers them to an approved ash metal bucket. Don’t try to transfer the ashes on windy days, as the wind can spread the ashes around your yard.
Once your ashes are safely in your metal bucket, wet the ashes down to help get rid of any lingering embers. Cover the ashes with a tight fitting metal lid to make sure that they do not leave the bucket. Until you are ready to throw the ashes out, keep your ash bucket at a safe distance from your home or any other buildings.
When you are ready to get rid of your ashes, make sure that you are familiar with the disposal rules and regulations of your county. Some areas will allow you to throw out your properly extinguished ashes into your normal garbage can. Again, it is important that they have had a least a week to cool and have been thoroughly wetted down in order to prevent fires from staring in the garbage trucks. Many counties have disposal stations where you can bring your ashes in order to make sure they are properly taken care of.
When you are getting ready to enjoy the wonders of a barbecued meal, the last thing that you want is to damper the occasion through a grill accident. Each type of grill has its own unique dangers as well as the precautions that you, as the griller, need to take to make sure that you and everyone around you remain safe.
One of the biggest dangers inherent to a charcoal grill is the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. When charcoal is burned, it produces the colorless, odorless gas carbon monoxide that can quickly reach toxic levels. In fact, every year, there are about 30 people who are killed and 100 people that are injured from the carbon monoxide fumes that emit from charcoal grills. (Source: http://www.clevelandcounty.com/emfm/grillsaf.htm)
The easiest way to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning is to never use charcoal grills indoors. This includes homes, tents, and campers. Carbon monoxide accumulates quickest in closed environments and can reach toxic levels even when there is ventilation. Since carbon monoxide is emitted from coals until the moment they are completely extinguished, this also means that you should never store a grill inside that has freshly used coals.
Outside of carbon monoxide poisoning, there are other simple fire safety steps that you can take to make sure that you have no problems while you are at the grill. The first step is to properly prepare your grill. Keep it a safe distance from any buildings, tress, or other items that could catch fire. It is also extremely important that you keep any children or pets away from the designated grill area. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the case of any small fire emergencies.
Specifically with charcoal, make sure that once your charcoal is lit that you refrain from adding additional lighter fluid. This is a dangerous practice lighter fluid turns to gas at low temperature. This means that as the fire can return into the fluid container, which will lead to an explosion. Always follow the instructions on the lighter fluid container.
The final steps in grill safety are how you prepare your personal self. Never wear loose clothing while you are grilling. Loose clothing can accidentally pass over the flames, catching yourself on fire. The other big precautionary step is to always use appropriate, specifically designed grill utensils. Grill utensils have longer handles, which allow you to keep a safe distance away from the flame.