Get Your Grill On, Safely

One of the best smells of summer is food cooking on the grill. Whether you’re a grill master or novice griller, there are some important safety precautions to take before you fire it up to make a delicious, healthy meal.

General grilling tips

  • Grills should only be used outside, never inside a home or apartment due to the risks of carbon monoxide buildup and fire.
  • The location of your outdoor grill is important. It should be placed at least 10 feet from your home, deck overhangs or branches.
  • Children and pets should be kept away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease from the grills and in any trays located underneath.
  • Never leave your grill unattended while in use.

Safety tips for propane grills

Before you start grilling, check for potential safety hazards.

  • Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
  • Check the gas (propane) tank hose for potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
    • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
    • Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
    • If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
    • If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.
  • As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
    • If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Safety tips for charcoal grills

There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use safely.

  • Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Now that you know how to keep your next grilling session safe, here are some tips to make what you’re preparing healthier and idea starters to plan the menu:

Photo credit: LauriPatterson

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