Practicing Grill Safety This Summer: Tips for Homeowners and Cooks
Summer is coming, and grilling has become the go-to cooking method for homeowners and cooks alike. Nothing beats the delicious aroma of barbecue wafting through the air and the sound of sizzling meat on the grill. But with the fun and adventure that grilling brings, some dangers come with it.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gas and charcoal grills are involved in an average of 10,600 home fires annually, with about 19,000 people injured and $133 million in direct property damage. This article will share tips for practicing grill safety this summer to enjoy your backyard barbecues with peace of mind.
The Guide to Practicing Grill Safety
It's tempting to start grilling for a fun barbecue each weekend now that the days are longer and warmer, but it's vital to prioritize grill safety. Despite our love for outdoor cooking, grill accidents happen more frequently than we realize and could spoil an otherwise perfect day. To avoid this, let's review grill safety tips for this summer.
Choose the Right Location for Your Grill
The first rule of grill safety is to choose the right location for your grill. Whether you live in a house with a spacious backyard or an apartment with a balcony, it's crucial to place your grill away from flammable materials such as trees, deck railings, and eaves. Ideally, your grill should be on a stable flat surface that can support the grill's weight. Also, keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill while it's in use.
Check Your Grill Before Each Use
Before you even light the grill, inspect it to ensure it's functioning correctly. Check the fuel line and hose for any cracks, leaks, or other signs of damage. Also, make sure to clean out any debris from the burners and remove any cobwebs or other materials that might have accumulated around the grill.
Clean Your Grill Regularly
A dirty grill can be a fire hazard, so it's vital to clean it regularly. After each use:
- Start by scraping the grates with a wire brush and wiping them down with a clean cloth.
- Empty the drip tray and ash catcher and dispose of the grease and ash properly.
- If using a gas grill, check the fuel lines and connections for leaks and replace any damaged parts.
Gas Grill Safety
If you're using a gas grill, always conduct a safety check before turning it on. Check for any gas leaks, cracks, or damage to the hoses. Also, never store your gas cylinders indoors, and ensure your grill is shut off properly when you're finished.
Charcoal Grill Safety
Charcoal grills require lighting and a lot of care. Use approved fire starters and follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding how much charcoal to use. Once the charcoal has been lit, let it cool completely before disposing of the ashes. Never pour lighter fluid on hot coals to avoid flare-ups.
It's essential to have a fire extinguisher nearby when cooking on a grill. You never know when an accident might happen, and it's always better to be prepared. Also, teach everyone in your household how to use the fire extinguisher so they are ready for emergencies.
Practice Safe Starting Techniques
The most common cause of grill-related fires is the unsafe starting of the grill. Never use a flammable or combustible liquid like gasoline or lighter fluid to start your grills. Instead, use a chimney, electric, or natural fire starters. Also, keep a lid handy to smother flames in case of a flare-up.
Monitor Your Grill While Cooking
Never leave your grill unattended while it's in use. Keep a close eye on the cooking temperature and adjust the flames if necessary. Also, use a food thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked to the right temperature and follow guidelines for safe meat handling. If you need to briefly step away from the grill, turn off the burners and close the lid.
Use a Meat Thermometer
Cooking meats to the proper temperature is critical to ensure that harmful bacteria have been killed. Use a meat thermometer to check that burgers, chicken, and other meats have reached the appropriate internal temperature before serving.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Accidents can happen, even if you take all the necessary precautions. That's why keeping a fire extinguisher within arm's reach is essential. Ensure that everyone using the grill knows how to use the extinguisher in an emergency.
Keep Kids and Pets Away from the Grill
Grilling can be fun, but it's not a place for kids and pets to play. Ensure that children and pets are always kept at a safe distance from the grill. Consider setting up a designated area for them to play in far enough away from the grill.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Despite your best efforts, accidents can still happen, so it's essential to be prepared for emergencies. Keep a fire extinguisher close by and know how to use it in case of a fire. Also, have a first aid kit nearby and learn how to treat burns, cuts, and other injuries.
Here's to Safe Summer Grilling!
With these tips, you can practice grill safety this summer and enjoy barbecue parties without any worries. Remember to choose the right location for your grill, clean it regularly, practice safe starting techniques, monitor your grill while cooking, and be prepared for emergencies.