Summer is a time for swimming, warm temperatures, playing in the yard, and cooking outside on the grill. Corn-on-the-cob, hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs, grilled veggies, and steaks are on the menu. If you’re doing the cooking, practice these grilling safety tips to reduce the risk of injury around the grill.

1. Keep a Safe Distance When Grilling

Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your home, garage, carports, and patio furniture. Outdoor decorations such as flags, umbrellas, or baskets also pose a hazard if they’re too close to the flames.

2. Grilling Safety Tips Include Cleaning the Grates

Clean your grill at the beginning and end of each season and after each use. Don’t allow grime, grease, and fat to build up. When you’re ready to eat, it’s easy to turn off the grill and enjoy your dinner, but don’t forget to clean it when you wash up for the evening. Cleaning the grates is important for grilling safety because it reduces the risk of injury from flare-ups.

3. Charcoal Grilling Safety

Self-lighting coals are a safer alternative to lighter fluid when using your charcoal grill. If you opt for lighter fluid instead, add it to the coals before you light them. For grilling safety, never use it on an already hot grill. When you pour fluid on the hot coals, the fluid and the vapor can ignite and cause an explosion.

4. Check for Leaks

Check your gas grill for leaks at the beginning of the season. Make a mixture of 1/2 dish soap and 1/2 water and apply it to connectors and hoses. Turn the gas on and look for bubbles. Bubbles mean that there is a leak in the hose or that your connections aren’t tight. Don’t use the grill until the hose or connectors are replaced.

5. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy for Grilling Safety

Have a fire extinguisher nearby when cooking on the grill. Read the instructions and make sure you know how to use it. It’s best to keep a dedicated extinguisher for the grill and another in the kitchen so you don’t have to remember to bring it back inside.

6. Grilling Safety Dos and Don’ts

Here are a few other grilling safety tips to practice this summer.

  • Don’t turn your gas grill on with the lid closed. When gas builds up underneath, it can cause a fireball when you light it.
  • Do cook small portions on the grill. An excessive amount of meat on the grill is more difficult to monitor. Too much food means even more fat and grease and you’ll risk a flare-up.
  • Don’t leave a lit grill unattended even for a few minutes. It only takes a few seconds for children or pets to get too close or for a fire to get out of control.
  • Do use your grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Grills produce carbon monoxide, which is a dangerous, odorless, and colorless gas. Never use your grill inside the house.

Enjoy the season by using these grilling safety tips every time you cook. You’ll enjoy delicious food while knowing you were safe while preparing it.

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