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Tips for A Safe Summer Cookout

Before heating up, be sure your grill is clean, clear, stable, and safeguarded. Always remove grease and fat buildup from grills and trays to prevent grease fires. Grills should be at least ten feet away from the home, deck railings, away from eaves, overhanging branches, children, and pets. Wear proper attire when grilling with no loose apron strings or long shirt tails that could catch fire. Do not leave your grill unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher, baking soda, or a bucket of sand on hand in the case of a grease fire. Never use water to put out a grease fire.

Charcoal Grills
Do not underestimate how dangerous lighter fluid can be. Use only charcoal starter fluid and never add any other flammable liquids to the fire, especially gasoline. Be cautious when adding lighter fluid to already hot coals to avoid a combustible situation. Keep flammable liquids out of reach of children and away from heat sources. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel. Always let your coals cool down completely before disposing of them. They will continue to give off carbon monoxide until completely extinguished.

Propane Grills
Perform a safety check before firing up! Check your grill's hoses for damage, and check for leaks by using a soap/water solution on the hose. If you see bubbles forming from a source, you may have a propane leak. Do not use the grill until the hose is replaced. If you smell gas when the gas tank and grill are both off, get away from the grill and call the fire department. Check for any blockages such as food, grease, fat build-up, or critters by using a wire or pipe cleaner. Open your grill before lighting it. If the flames go out while cooking, turn the gas off and wait at least 5-15 minutes before lighting again.

Watch out for smoke!
If you love the smell of summertime BBQ smoke, be sure you are admiring it from a safe distance. All grills give off carbon monoxide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These are cancer-causing substances when breathed in, and the younger you are when exposed, the worse the outcome. Grill in open area and use protective eyewear and a face mask. Bystanders should keep at least 10 feet away from the grill and wash clothing that has absorbed grilling smoke.

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