While it's nice to enjoy a good backyard barbecue once in a while, always keep in mind that your safety should always be top priority. Using your grill means you are exposed to hot metals, explosive fuels, fire and many other dangers, so be sure that you are always one step ahead for your safety.

To maximize your grilling experience and to have a smooth-sailing barbecue, follow these top safety tips:

1. Use the right tools

Having a barbecue means that you will be constantly exposed to extreme heat and sometimes open flames, so be sure you are well protected especially when you're assigned to work the grill. Wear durable heat-resistant gloves to safeguard your arms and hands. Also opt to use long-handled tongs and spatulas to keep your body in a safe distance from the grill.

2. Know how to stop fire

When you're grilling, you shouldn't be surprised if the coals suddenly burst into flames. Having said this, it is crucial that you know how to stop fire in case it gets out of hand. Experts recommend that you should have a fire extinguisher nearby for safety. This may sound funny but according to statistics, backyard barbecues cause numerous fires, injuries and even deaths each year. Have someone in charge of the fire extinguisher and have the number of the fire department within reach.

3. Read your grill manual

Whether you're using a charcoal, electric or gas grill, it is highly important that you read and understand how it works through the manual, where safety restrictions of the grill can also be found. If you can't find the manual, visit the manufacturer's website. Different models of grills and smokers work in different ways. So if you have a new grill, keep in mind that there are new instructions to follow and that it does not work just like the last one.

4. Keep your grill clean at all times

Grease is the number one cause of flare-ups. It starts to build-up in your grill even after just a few uses, so be sure to keep your grill clean. Keep in mind that flare-ups are potentially lethal and should not be overlooked. It is ideal to scrub your grill every after use not just to avoid flare-ups from the next barbecue but for also keeping the food you cook safe for consumption.

5. Practice food safety

Using your grill does not only mean you are exposed to physical risks, but to health hazards as well. It is highly important that you prioritize safety from storage, preparation through the cooking process of your food. One example is keeping raw and cooked food in separate plates, as raw food is full of bacteria. Another one is avoiding your food from getting too charred on the grill, as this exposes the food to harmful carcinogenic chemicals.

Having a backyard barbecue is a fun way of bonding with family and friends, and you wouldn't want to ruin it with an accident caused by your grill. Follow the safety tips above to keep yourself and your guests away from both health and physical grilling hazards.

Adrian T. Cheng is a food blogger and a BBQ expert. Through years of grilling experience, reviewing various grill gadgets and trying delicious and unique recipes, he is sharing his knowledge with everyone through his blog. For more secrets, tips, recipes and more, head over to Adrian's helpful posts about cooking and grilling.