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Safety Tips for Summer Barbecues

Summer is the prime season for backyard barbecues.  Before you pull out the yard games, lawn chairs and light the grill, first make sure you are grilling safely!

1.       When using your grill for the first time, check your grill for wear and tear.  Fuel tanks with any rust, dents or cracks are at risk for explosion and should be replaced.

2.       Check for gas leaks before you get started.  If you find a leak, repair or replace it before using the grill.

3.       Grill away from the house, trees, garage and other structures.  The heat of the grill can melt siding, cause smoke damage or grease stains, and may even ignite dry grass, leaves, branches, shrubs and wood decks.

4.       The grill should be placed on a stable, non-combustible surface. Wooden porches and decks aren’t the safest places to grill, because the associated heat could damage or set fire to flammable materials like wood floors and decking. Grills should be used on a solid non-combustible surface such as brick or concrete. Fires produce carbon monoxide as they burn, so don’t use your grill anywhere that’s not extremely well ventilated or there will be a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

5.      If the flame goes out, wait to re-light.  If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it.

6.       Store butane lighters inside!!  If you are using a butane lighter to ignite your charcoal grill or gas grill, never keep these outdoors.  These should always be stored inside away from any heat source.

7.       Be prepared in case of a fire!!!  Grill fires often contain fat or grease, and these types of cooking fires can’t be put out with water. In fact, water makes grease fires worse. Instead, have baking soda, a bucket of sand or a dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby.   Remember, you will need to act fast because of the cooking fuel involved.  If a spark from your fire ignites something nearby and there’s no cooking grease or oil involved (for example, if your charcoal flame catches some dry brush) then you can use water to prevent it from spreading. Always have your garden hose or a bucket of water at the ready just in case.

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