Warmer weather inspires many of us to get our grills out of storage and have the first cookout of the year. There is nothing quite like the smell of burgers and hotdogs grilling outside. However, every year thousands of people have grilling accidents that result in a trip to the emergency room or damaged property. Prevent mishaps and injuries by following these grilling safety guidelines.

Grilling Safety: Where to Put the Grill

Where the grill is placed affects grilling safety. Any type of grill can flare up and catch something nearby on fire. Keep the grill away from the walls of your house, deck railings, trees, and other structures. A 10-foot radius of clearance around the grill is critical for safety. Move the grill away from anything overhead, like an awning, roof, or tree branches.

Cleaning the Grill

Always cook on a clean grill. A grill with caked-on grease and food particles has the potential to flare up. A clean grill also cooks better-tasting food and reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Once the grill has cooled down, scrub the grates with a stiff-bristled brush. Wipe off splattered grease on the sides of the grill before storing.

Practices for Grilling Safety

There are certain things you can do to make your cookout safer. When grilling, wear short sleeves, tie up long hair, and secure apron strings behind your back. This will prevent things from dangling into the flames and catching fire.

Keep kids and pets away from your grilling station. If they are running around underfoot, they could knock over the grill and hurt themselves or you.

If using a gas grill, open the lid before turning on the gas to keep fuel from accumulating under the closed lid. Accidents and serious injuries are caused by a closed grill that flares up once it’s opened.

Check a Gas Grill for Leaks

Make sure the hose on your gas grill isn’t leaking before you use it.  Check this by making a formula of soapy water and spraying it onto the hose. Open the gas valve and watch to see if any areas on the hose bubble, which is a sign that gas is leaking out. If the hose has leaks, replace it before using your grill.

Grilling is the perfect pastime for getting friends and family together in the summer, but it does come with risks. Follow these grilling safety tips to prevent injuries and accidents. Once you’re comfortable with safe grilling, you’ll want to cook out for every meal!

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