Grilling Safety Tips

Review these precautions before firing up the grill.

By Kelly Staikopoulos from ChangeOne.com

Grilling food can be found at almost every summer gathering. Follow these tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable barbecue!

Check for Gas Leaks
If using a gas grill, make sure there are no gas leaks by rubbing soapy water onto the gas hose and turning the gas on. If there is a leak, you will see bubbles appear. DO NOT, under any circumstances, ignite the grill. Buy a new hose before using the grill again.

Keep Water Nearby
Keep a garden hose filled with water nearby. If this is not possible, have a bucket of water nearby anytime you barbecue in order to put out a flame in an emergency or to use on a burn.

Ventilation
Don’t ever barbecue in the garage, even with the door open. The area may not be as well ventilated as you think. Barbecues produce carbon monoxide, which can build up in an enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is invisible, colorless and tasteless — but extremely dangerous. Instead, set up your grill in a corner of your deck or patio. Avoid grilling on a covered or enclosed porch or on top of anything that can catch on fire.

Child Safety
This may be a hard rule to enforce because children like to be around the grill and may be unaware that it is very hot. Keep the kids away from the grill. Better yet, grill away from people. The New York City Fire Department suggests keeping grills at least 10 feet away from your house, garage or trees.

First Aid
In addition to water, have a phone and first-aid kit nearby. Don’t hesitate to call 911 in case of an emergency. Also, make sure your first-aid kit is handy and stocked with updated products for outdoor activities.

Safe Shopping:
• Select cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout.

• Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other food in your shopping cart.

• Place packages of raw meat and poultry in plastic bags to guard against cross-contamination, which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip onto other food.

• Drive directly home from the grocery store. If traveling a longer distance, you may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables.

• Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90°F.

• Once home, refrigerate meat and poultry immediately. Poultry and ground meat that will not be used within 1 to 2 days should be frozen; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.