Grill safely this summer

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Grill safely this summer

The smell of barbeque on a warm summer evening is stimulating.  It means the anticipation of flavorful and tantalizing foods cooked to perfection on a grill.  With summer’s arrival, everyone gets anxious to ‘fire up the grill.’ Whether it’s a Memorial Day or Fourth of July cookout or tailgating at a baseball game, grilling is a big part of the summer season.

However each year more than 8,900 home fires involving grilling occur.  The incidents escalate during the summer with July being the peak month for grilling fires.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that between 2009-2013 each year these accidents of home fires involve grills, hibachis, or barbecues. 

Three out of five households own a gas grill with gas grills causing more home fires even though all type of grills pose a risk for fires and burn injuries.  Areas where grill fires occur most frequently are on an exterior balcony or open porch (27 percent) or in a courtyard, terrace, or patio (another 27 percent).  Only eight percent start in the kitchen. 

NFPA reminds and cautions everyone using a grill to review safety tips at the start of the summer season of grilling.  Here are tips NFPA suggests ways to stay safe and have a fun grilling season avoiding a dangerous situation:

Safety tips

·      Make sure the grill is working properly and review safety tips.

·      Keep any lighter fluid out of reach of children

·      Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

·      Always check for any damage to the grill before using for the first time each year.

·      Place the grill well away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging tree branches.

·      Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

·      Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grates and in the trays below.

·      Never leave the grill unattended.

Grill location

·      Place the grill well away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging tree branches.

·      If you have a gas grill, make sure that the area in the back, where the grill vents, is clear and away from your house. Even with the grill lid closed, there can be an immense amount of heat build-up that can warp siding, damage glass, and even cause a fire.

Tips for propane grills

Before using for the first time each year, always check the gas tank hone for leaks.  Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose – a propane leak will release bubbles.  If the gas grill has a leak, detected by smell or the soapy bubbles test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill and have it serviced by a professional before using it again.

Tips for charcoal grills

·      Only use charcoal grills/barbeques outside in the open air – do not bring inside your home in barbecue in the garage. As charcoal burns, it can give off a gas called carbon monoxide which is very dangerous.  You are unable to see or smell carbon monoxide and it can kill you.

·      Always let the coals cool completely before disposing them in a metal container. 

By following the above advice from the NFPA, you, your family and friends can enjoy many summer evenings and weekends grilling your favorite foods while staying safe.