America! Land of the free, and Home of the Brave! Celebrating Independence Day, for many, is a holiday planned out well in advance with great anticipation. Unfortunately, when the rockets red glare fade we are left with far more injuries and deaths than we should have.
Independence Day has become considered by most to be the most dangerous American holiday, claiming an estimated 600 lives each year between travel accidents, fireworks accidents, and other Independence day activities.
We will cover other tips in the coming days, but today we are focusing on Grilling tips to keep your barbecue safe this 4th of July. Read on for 10 grilling tips
1. Grill outside and away from any structures.
Charcoal and gas grills are designed for outdoor use only. However, NFPA reports that more than one-quarter (27%) of home fires started by outdoor grills began in a courtyard, terrace or patio, and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Pay attention to overhanging tree branches when you set up your grill. Always grill outdoors and at least 10 feet away from the house, garage, or other structures.
Always store gas grills - and propane tanks - outside and away from your house.
2. Make sure your grill is stable
Only set up your grill on a flat surface and make sure the grill can't be tipped over. Consider using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath your grill to protect your deck or patio.
3. Keep your grill clean
Remove grease or fat buildup from both the grill and the tray below the grill. If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to completely cool off before disposing of them in a metal container.
4. Check for propane leaks on your gas grill
Before the season's first barbecue, check the gas tank hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and then turning on the gas. If there is a propane leak, the solution will bubble. Other signs of a propane leak include the smell of gas near the barbecue or a flame that won't light. If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
5. If the flame goes out, wait to relight
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. Don't turn on the grill while the lid is closed
Never turn on the gas when the lid is closed. The gas may build up inside, and when ignited, the lid could blow off and cause injuries or burns.
7. Take care around the grill
Never leave a lit grill unattended. Avoid placing any burnable objects near the grill or moving the grill while the coals are hot. Remember, grills can remain hot many hours after the flames extinguished.
Don't allow kids or pets to play near the grill. Setup a kid-free zone of at least 3 feet around the grill and areas where hot food is prepared or carried. Grill contact accounted for 37% or burns seen at emergency rooms in 2014 for children under the age of 5.
8. Be careful with starter fluid
If you use a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid. If the fire starts to go out, don't add any starter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire. Consider using a charcoal chimney starter, which uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid.
Store starter fluid out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
9. Wear the right clothing
Clothing can easily catch fire, so be sure your shirt tails, sleeves or apron strings don't dangle over the grill.
10. Be ready to put out the fire
Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out grease fire.
Follow these tips to help you and your family enjoy a safe Independence Day. We will cover more topics in the days leading up to the 4th of July, so stay tuned.