On Memorial Day, we honor those who fought and died to protect our country. Close family members and relatives gather together on this national holiday to appreciate the freedom we all can enjoy because of the sacrifices made every day by our armed forces.
As Memorial Day comes at the end of May, it is also considered the unofficial start of the summer season. Many people spend this weekend outside barbecuing on the grill with friends and family. In order to enjoy the weekend in a fun and safe way, be sure to take the appropriate precautions to protect you and your loved ones by practicing grilling safety. Follow these seven tips to help stay safe and have fun while outdoor grilling on Memorial Day, and throughout the summer season:
1. Keep your grill away from your house
It is very important to keep your grill outside and at least 10 feet away from your house on a flat surface. Grills release carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is both colorless and odorless, so having a grill indoors would be extremely dangerous since the lack of ventilation would allow the gas to build up to toxic levels. Having a grill too close to your house also poses a fire hazard, since the flames of the grill could potentially cause them to catch fire.
2. Check for any gas leaks
After you have designated a safe area for your grill, check for any leaks in your propane tank hose by applying a solution of half dish soap and half water to the hose. Then open your grill lid and turn on the gas; if you notice any large bubbles forming on the hose, that is a sign of a propane leak. Other leakage signs to look for include smelling gas, or difficulty lighting the burners.
3. Clean your grill often
Clean your grill and the grill tray after each use to avoid grease and fat build up, which can pose a fire hazard. Make sure, if you’re cleaning a charcoal grill, to first let all of the charcoals completely cool off before cleaning.
4. Protect yourself from the flames
Try wearing clothes that won’t dangle over the grill, as they can catch on fire. Also, consider wearing a heavy apron and oven mitts to provide extra protection for your skin. Never leave the grill unattended, and be sure to keep your children and pets away from a lit grill.
5. Be equipped to extinguish
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, invest in a bag of sand to put out bigger fires. For smaller flare ups, keep a water spray bottle or some baking soda close by to put out the flames.
6. Consider an electric grill
While gas and charcoal grills are more popular and give food a signature grilled flavor, electric grills can still be a good option for grilling food in a safer way. Electric grills can be kept indoors and more easily cleaned. If you are planning on grilling at your home versus at a park or somewhere else outdoors, you might consider using an electric grill instead.
7. Treat for accidents
In case you do experience a grilling accident, have a first aid kit nearby and immediately treat minor injuries before you see a doctor. If your clothing catches, stop, drop, and roll on the ground to smother the flames. Do not remove pieces of clothing attached to the burn if the surrounding skin has become charred. For cases like this, call 911 and request an ambulance so that a doctor can quickly assess and treat your injury.