Summer is here and a great way to save energy while enjoying the nice weather is by grilling your food. Picture yourself and your family enjoying the sunshine and freshly grilled steak, corn, potatoes and the works. However, like with anything that requires fire, using your grill must be done safely to prevent any accidents. Keep the flames in the grill where they belong! Before you fire up the grill this summer, consider these six tips to be sure you’re taking the appropriate precautions.
- Never use a grill indoors. All grills produce carbon monoxide when in use. According to Erie Insurance, approximately 17 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of grilling or using charcoal indoors. Keep the grill outside in the fresh air where ventilation is plentiful. No steak is literally to die for!
- Keep your grill as clean as possible. It’s best to clean your grill before each use. Not only is this good for general health purposes, fat and grease buildup on the grate and in the tray below can cause grease fires. You wouldn’t want last week’s pork loin to warrant a call to the fire department.
- Never leave your grill unattended. It may not be the most enthusing activity to watch your food cook on the grill but it’s in your best interest to keep an eye on it. Sparks can fly and catch nearby flammables on fire. It would be downright awful to start a fire or burn your food because the grill was running without proper attention.
- Use a food thermometer instead of relying on food texture and color. Home Food Safety advises that it is very important to cook meats to the appropriate temperature to avoid potential food poisoning. The best way to do this is to use a food thermometer and know exactly how cooked that meat is. It will also keep you attentive to your cooking and reduce your risk of setting those hamburgers on fire!
- When using a charcoal grill, use an appropriate fire starter. The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association cautions you to never use kerosene, gasoline or other fluids with a high volatility. Consider using a charcoal chimney starter. Not only will this make lighting those coals a lot easier, it allows you to start the fire in a more contained fashion, using newspaper as fuel.
- If you are using a propane grill, always check for gas leaks before each use. If you smell gas while cooking, turn off the tank and burners immediately. If the scent persists, move yourself to a safe distance and contact your local fire department.