Plenty of people can be found working their grilling
magic year-round. But the vast majority of
people do the bulk of their grilling over the summer,
when warm temperatures contribute to a relaxed
atmosphere that makes outdoor cooking and dining
that much more appealing.
The relaxing nature of summer can make it easy to
overlook safety, particularly when grilling. However,
the right safety measures when cooking over an
open fl ame can prevent home fi res and other accidents
that can cause injury and even death. In recognition
of the many things that can go wrong when grilling,
the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the
U.S. Fire Administration offer these simple fi re safety
tips that every grillmaster can keep in mind as summer
grilling season hits full swing.
• Only use a grill outside. Grills should never be used
indoors, and that includes in garages with the doors
open. Before lighting a fl ame, make sure the grill is at
least three feet from siding, deck rails and eaves.
• Establish a safe zone around the grill. A three-foot
safe zone around the grill can decrease the likelihood
that pets will run into and potentially tip over the grill.
Kids can be taught to respect this zone as well so they
avoid being burned.
• Open a gas grill before lighting it. Charcoal grills,
hybrid grills and smokers cannot be lit unless the lid is
lifted. That isn't the case with gas grills, but gas grills
should never be lit with the lid closed. If a gas grill
is lit with its lid closed, gas can build up inside and
that could cause an explosion. Even if there's some
summer rain falling, open the lid on a gas grill before
turning the ignition switch.
• Keep an eye on the grill at all times. It's tempting
to walk away from a grill while food is cooking, but
someone should always be tasked with staying close
to the grill. If cooks must walk away, ask another adult
to stay close to the grill until you return. All it takes is
a few seconds for a fi re to start.
• Clean the grill regularly. Regular cleaning of the grill
is both healthy and safe. Cleaning helps to ensure the
cooking surface is clean and unlikely to cause food
poisoning. But a grease-free grill also poses less of a
fi re hazard than one that hasn't been cleaned.
• Let coals cool before discarding them. Coals from
the grill should be given ample time to cool before
they're removed from the grill and discarded.
• Remember to turn the gas valve to the off position
after cooking. When cooking with gas grills, cooks
must remember to turn the valve to the off position
once all the food has been cooked.
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