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Grilling Safety

Nothing says summer fun like getting together for a backyard barbecue with friends and family. No matter the reason or the occasion, grilling your food outdoors is easy and makes for a tasty meal. But grilling is not without its risks. So before you fire up that grill for your next barbecue, read these helpful grilling guidelines to keep you (and your burgers) safe.

Where to Grill

  • Grill in a well-ventilated area, free of nearby flammable items. Grilling indoors can cause odorless and deadly carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Use your grill in an open, uncrowded area. Make sure there is nothing around that could fall on it, knock it over or otherwise interfere with it.
  • Before you move a grill, make sure it is turned off and no longer hot.

How to Grill

For all grills:

  • Use tools and utensils specifically designed for grills. They should have long handles for your protection.
  • Do not wear loose clothing around the grill. It could catch on fire or get caught on the appliance.
  • Read your grill’s instruction manual, and never use any different fluids or accessories than the one(s) it suggests.
  • Keep the grill clean by wiping off excess grease, fat, or other build up before and after use.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep the heat and fire under control.
  • Be prepared to extinguish the flames before they get out of control. Baking soda can be used to control a grease fire and if a fire extinguisher isn’t available, sand and a hose should be easily accessible.
  • Never leave a grill unattended.

For propane grills:

  • Before using, make sure hoses are secured and gas tanks are not leaking.
  • If you begin to smell gas, turn off the tank and burners. Service immediately.

For charcoal grills:

  • After using a charcoal grill, let coals extinguish and cool completely before disposal.
  • If using lighter fluid, keep out of reach of children. Note that lighter fluid is no longer the recommended method to light your charcoal grill.
    • Lighter fluid leaves toxic residue on the food you cook, giving your food an unpleasant taste and leaving residue in your lungs. It’s also a dangerous inhalant.
    • Some affordable alternatives to lighter fluid are charcoal chimney starters and electric charcoal starters. These won’t produce petroleum residue and are much safer than lighter fluid.

Where and When to Grill

  • Always check the weather before grilling.
  • The ideal time to grill is a sunny day with no rain in sight.
  •  If there is a drought in your area, grilling is not advised. If you do grill in a drought, make sure the grill is on concrete away from flammable surfaces.
  • All grills should be several feet away from a house or building.
  • Charcoal grills should NOT be used on wooden decks. Patios are ideal.
  • Gas grills can be used on wooden decks as long as no heated part of the grill is touching the wood.

Resources:

Health, Patio and Barbecue Association: http://www.hpba.org/consumers/barbecue/general-grilling-safety

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