The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and barbeques are a weekly event. The smells of a charcoal grill and sizzling meat can take you back to happy memories, but there are also some safety concerns when grilling. In the U.S., 7,000 Americans are injured every year while using a grill (ABC news). Here is a list of preventative tips to help you safely enjoy grilling and being outside.
- Maintenance: Make sure the grill itself is clean and any excess grease or fat is cleared away. If you are operating a gas grill, check the gas line regularly to make sure there are no leaks. Maintenance is recommended at least once a year. The beginning of grilling season is a good time to clean and check everything.
- Location: Keep your grill a minimum of 10 feet away from any structure or flammable household items (cleaners, fertilizer, wood piles, etc.). Do not put your grill under an overhang that could lead to damages if a flare-up occurs.
- Ventilation: Never use a grill indoors; carbon-monoxide is a silent, odorless killer that can build up from grill exhaust. The grill needs to be used outside in an open space to vent properly.
- Ignition: Be sure to light your grill with the lid open to avoid gas build up. A build-up of gas can create a fireball and explode causing injury to yourself and property.
- Monitor: Never leave your grill unattended. Even if there is only one item cooking on it, when a fire starts it spreads quickly and you could be up in flames before you know it. Do your prep work ahead of time so you can enjoy grilling and the outdoors.
- Extinguish: Keep a spray bottle of water on hand while grilling. The water can be used to quell minor flare-ups, and water will not affect your food. Have a fire extinguisher in reach and know how to use it. Knowing how to extinguish a fire properly can save you a lot of damage.
Grilling is a favorite summer activity of mine and a great way to enjoy food, fellowship, and the great outdoors. Be cautious when grilling, safety is king!