The sounds of splashing water and a sizzling grill are the iconic symbols of summer! Backyard barbeques create long-time memories with friends and family. However, BBQs aren’t just about great food and fun. It’s also important to keep in mind that you are literally playing with an open fire, and fire can make your summertime BBQs memorable for all the wrong reasons. Thousands learn this the hard way each year, suffering from serious injuries to damage to their homes.
Before indulging in your barbeque, follow these 7 grilling safety tips:
General Safety Tips – Always keep your grill clean. A grill free of grease and food is a sure-fire way to prevent grease fires. Be sure to keep the grill three to ten feet away from the house, railings, overhanging branches, eaves, children, and pets. Also, never, under any circumstance, use a grill indoors! Gas and charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide fumes, which can be fatal in enclosed spaces.
Propane Grills – The number one cause of gas grill fires is an obstruction in the hose. Before firing up your grill for the first BBQ of the season, be sure to check your grill’s hoses for damages or leaks. Perform a simple test using a soap/water solution to the hose. Bubbles indicate a propane leak – if this happens, do not use the grill until the hose is replaced. Also, check for and clear out any blockages such as food, grease, fat build-up, or critters using a wire or pipe cleaner. Always open your grill lid before lighting it. If the flames go out while cooking, turn the gas off and wait approximately 15 minutes before lighting again.
Charcoal Grills – Charcoal grills are known to cause more fires than gas grills. It is often miscalculated how dangerous lighter fluid can be. Since fluid turns to a heavy gas at relatively low temperatures, adding lighter fluid to already hot coals can cause a combustible situation. In a desperate attempt to light your charcoals, NEVER use gasoline. This can cause serious burns. Also, let your coals cool down completely before disposing of them. They will still give off carbon monoxide until they are completely extinguished.
Smoke – Smoke is inevitable while grilling and some love the aroma it gives, but taking precaution when around it is very important. It gets in your hair, on your clothes, in your eyes, and worse, in your lungs. All grills give off carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are cancer-causing substances when breathed in. So if you love the smell of that summertime BBQ smoke, be sure you are admiring it from a safe distance and remember that the younger you are when exposed to it, the worse the outcome!
Grease – Grease flare-ups are more than just a bother to most. They can actually be lethal. Grease will heavily collect in your grill’s trays over time if they aren’t properly cleaned out, and flare-ups can really burn the hair off your face. Literally.
Grilling Tools – Grills give us the convenience of being able to hang our grilling tools on the side for easy access. Typically, this means they are exposed to outdoor elements year-round. Adding frequent use to the equation, your brush takes a real beating. Your wire bristles become fragile over time and eventually start breaking off, dislodging onto the cooking grates and adhering to food surfaces. Similarly, if you have wooden or plastic brushes, they can become warped, split, and cracked. So do a safety check on your brush for wear and tear before your next use. Throw away and replace worn down, grease clogged, and/or warped brushes!
And last but not least,
Proper Food Temperatures – It is critical that your meat is cooked to proper temperatures. Consuming undercooked or raw meat can be very dangerous. According to the USDA, meats should be cooked to the following temperatures:
Chicken: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Ground Beef: 160 degrees Fahrenheit
Pork: 145 degrees Fahrenheit
Turkey: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
Be responsible and protect your home this summer with proper home insurance from Madison Mutual. Stop by to see your agent or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to make sure you are properly protected!