Memorial Day Grilling
As Memorial Day approaches, you’re sure to be making plans to spend the holiday weekend with friends and family. Typically, the warm weather this time of year makes Memorial Day the perfect time to break out the grill and fire up some delicious food. However, every year, plenty of individuals find themselves injured or their homes damaged due to subpar grill safety. Though grills are relatively safe and simple to use, they need proper maintenance in order to stay user-friendly, so that there are lower chances for fires and, at worst, explosions. Understanding how to handle your grill can help you ensure a safe and fun Memorial Day Weekend without any dangerous mishaps.
Grill Safety: The DO’s
DO Grill Outside
- For both propane and charcoal powered grills, the number one rule to follow is that both types should be used and only used outdoors. Even if your home has a covered patio or similar setup, it is safest to set up the grill in an open area away from the home, guests, and most valuables. For how to use both grill types, the National Fire Protection Association has some tips.
DO Check for Leaks
- When using a gas grill, you should always check connections for leaks before beginning use. It is best to use a soapy water solution to check, as the bubbles act as easy to read indicators. If you notice expanding bubbles forming at a cylinder connection, you have a leak on your hands. Be sure to check each time you grill out and after you replace a cylinder.
DO Follow Proper Lighting Procedures
- One of the most dangerous parts of grilling is lighting the grill up. This often involves gas, lighter fluid, and flames, which can spell disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing. No matter what, always follow manufacturer’s lighting instructions for all grill types and models. If in doubt, check the instructions. If your question isn’t answered, follow up with a grill expert at a hardware store, or call the manufacturer.
DO Stay Close By
- Never leave your grill unattended as this is how most fires and other disasters get started. As long as you are around, you should be able to catch and prevent problems from happening. Stay present when grilling. Be close, keep an eye out, and never walk away from the grill unless it has been fired down for the day.
Grill Safety: The DON’TS
DON’T Ignore the Manufacturer
- Your grill comes with instructions for a reason, which is why you should always, always follow them. Whether you are putting a new grill together, learning how to use and maintain a grill, cleaning, or storing it, you should always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions first. These were written with safety in mind, so take the extra time and read them thoroughly.
- Nothing ruins a Memorial Day Weekend like a bout of food poisoning due to poor grilling and food safety. When cooking on a grill, you have to keep an eye on the food to ensure that it is cooked and cooked well. As most foods prepared on the grill are meats, it is incredibly important to take your time and ensure that the meat, whether it is steak, pork, chicken, or the like, is cooked all the way through. Don’t only pay attention to the meats, however. Bacteria can thrive on veggies as well, making it imperative that these are washed and properly cooked also. Avoid tummy troubles by being smart, careful, and watchful. For further food safety tips, go here.
DON’T Wear the Wrong Clothes
- You may have never thought about it, but wearing the wrong clothes can make grilling pretty dangerous. Don’t expose too much skin as this can increase your risk of being burned by grease and other substances. Be sure to avoid hanging shirttails, long apron strings, and frills; you’ll want to tie up long, loose hanging hair as well.
DON’T Let the Fire Get Out of Control
- When using a charcoal grill, you must pay attention to the strength of the fire. While flare-ups are normal, they should not be occurring too often. Avoid flare-ups by elevating the grid on which the food rests, adjusting controls to lower and regulate temperature, and spreading the coals evenly. Always keep an extinguisher nearby. If you don’t have one, baking soda is great for putting out grease fires. Sand and your regular garden hose may also be effective in a pinch.
Memorial Day can be a breeze when you stick to these grill do’s and don’ts. Long holiday weekends are a time to kick back and relax, so ensure your good time by staying safe and following these grill safety tips.