Now that temperatures are rising, folks are heading outdoors for the delightful rituals of grilling and backyard parties.
There’s a serious side to summer fun, however. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) an average of 19,700 people go to emergency rooms each year because of grill-related injuries. Thermal burns make up almost half of these injuries.
And each year, 2,000 children bump into, touch or fall on a grill, part of a grill or hot coals, reports the NFPA.
Here are tips for safe grilling and food safety in the summer.
-Keep children and pets far away from the grill!
-Flare ups are common when cooking on the grill.
Fat from the meat drips onto the grill surface, which can cause the grill to ignite and lead to a fire
outside the grill.
-Use grilling tools like gloves, tongs and long-handled metal spatulas to avoid burns when cooking.
-Avoid long sleeves and loose-fitting clothing when cooking on the grill. Don’t wear items that can catch fire easily. Tie any apron strings on your back. If your clothes catch on fire, the words are: “Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll”!
IN GENERAL …
-Never, ever use a charcoal or gas grill indoors, where deadly carbon dioxide can build.
-Place your grill at least 10 feet away from flammable materials or structures – your house, garage, shed, car or yard debris. Avoid low-hanging tree branches or bushes.
-Place the grill where you can see it through windows or doors if you’re not outside the whole time.
-Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case you need it.
-Regularly check the gas tank for any leaks before you safely start lighting it up. Eighty-four percent of the grill fires recorded used gas as a fuel source. There’s an average of 8,900 home fires caused by gas grills.
-Do not overfill propane tanks. Propane gas expands when the temperature rises. Fill tanks only up to 80%.
-Always turn off the cylinder valve after every use.
-Only store propane tanks outside in a dry, open and well-ventilated area. Never store them in a shed, garage or basement.
-Do not light up charcoal immediately after squeezing lighter fluid on it. Wait 10 minutes to give lighter fluid time to evaporate.
-Never add lighter fluid or any other flammable liquid to the fire. The vapors are highly flammable and can ignite your clothing, hair or other items near the grill.
-Keep children and pets away far away from the grill!
-Always stand back when lighting charcoal grills to avoid fire injury.
-Close the lighter fluid container and keep it far away from the grill.
-Make sure that coals are completely cold before discarding them, preferably in a metal container.