Every summer, Americans fire up their grills in the hopes of enjoying delicious food and fun in the sun. Still, each year, grills start nearly 9,000 house fires or result in injury. In 2014, grilling injuries caused 16,600 Americans to visit the emergency room. These house fires and personal injuries are preventable with safe grilling practices:
Learn proper grill procedures
Charcoal grills and propane (gas) grills each require their own safety checks and procedures. For charcoal grills, familiarize yourself with proper lighter fluid and coal practices. For gas grills, learn how to check for gas line leaks.
Check the grill location
Make sure your grill is placed in a well-ventilated area far from areas trafficked by children or pets. The grill should also be far from areas where outdoor games are played. Look for deck railings, tree branches or plants that are too near the grill. These seemingly innocent objects pose major fire risks.
Wear proper clothing
Loose clothing can easily catch on fire. Breathable fabrics that cover the arms and legs do the most to protect skin from burns. Closed shoes will offer some protection should coals or embers drop from the grill onto your feet. Remember that grill temperatures can range from 325 to 600 degrees, temperatures that can cause serious burns.
Never leave a lit grill unattended
You wouldn’t leave an open flame on your kitchen stove to go toss a football. The grill is no different.
Keep flammable materials sway
Oven mitts, dish towels and aprons can catch fire if they are too close to grilling surfaces.
Grill to the proper temperature
Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure you’re cooking meats to the proper temperatures. Don’t cross-contaminate raw meats with other foods. For example, don’t put the ears of corn on the same, unwashed plate you used to carry the raw meat to the grill. Always marinate meats in the refrigerator and not on the counter.
Summer is the perfect time to make healthy changes to your diet. Check out healthy grilling recipes from Operation Live Well’s Grill and Chill cookbook.
Although grilling comes with risks, it can be a safe, fun summer activity. Next time you grill, take steps to protect yourself and your family.