Summer is here, so the weather is right to fire up the grill. For many homeowners, warmer weather offers the perfect opportunity to cook a burger or tasty kebabs on an open flame. However, while grilling can be a lot of fun, taking precautions when handling and using a barbecue is essential. Here are tips for grill safety to help you enjoy your cookouts accident-free.

Step One in Grill Safety: Read the Manual

If you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance. Knowing how to operate your grill safely is key to preventing accidents and injuries. Always follow local ordinances and regulations for grilling in your area.

Keep the Grill Away from Flammable Materials

Keep the grill away from flammable materials like leaves, mulch, and trash cans when setting it up. To avoid damage, install the grill at least ten feet away from any structure, including your home and outbuildings, to ensure sparks and stray embers don’t ignite surrounding items.

Don’t Leave the Grill Unattended

Never leave a grill unattended while it’s in use; always supervise young children nearby. Even if you’ve been careful to keep the area clear of combustibles, an open flame can pose a risk if left unguarded. Watch your grill carefully while it’s lit, and don’t wander too far away.

Clean the Grill Regularly

Cleaning your grill after each use is an important part of safety. Grease and food debris can build up, leading to flare-ups. Clean the grill thoroughly at the beginning of each season, and take a few minutes after cooking to wipe the grates with a sponge and soapy water and brush away charred bits from the interior.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy

Have a fire extinguisher close at hand when using your grill. Read the instructions for your fire extinguisher and be sure you know how to use it properly.

Food Safety is Part of Grill Safety

Food safety is important when handling and cooking foods. Store raw meats in the refrigerator until ready for use, and clean all utensils thoroughly after they’ve come into contact with raw meat. Use a food thermometer to make sure meats are cooked to a safe temperature, and keep hot foods at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when serving.

By following these simple grill safety tips, you can enjoy your summer cookouts while reducing the risks of injuries and hazards.

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