On your mark, get set, grill! The rising temps have created the perfect opportunity to cook outside. After all, who doesn’t enjoy calling people over to showcase culinary talents on the grill? Grilling food may have its own benefits (less of a need for oil and nearly fat-free), but it also has quite a few precautions. So before you fire up the pit, take a look at these tips to keep you and your backyard safe.
1. Check equipment before using. One of the easiest ways to prevent an accident from happening is by inspecting your grill prior to use. Make sure there are no cracks in the unit or tears in the tubing (if using a gas grill) that may cause leaks. You may even want to take your grill for a test drive by turning it on and off just to ensure it functions properly.
2. Be mindful of the surrounding area. The majority of grills should be used outdoors. Therefore, it is important to keep a good distance between your home and grill for safety. Grills left too close to a patio create an opportunity for an unwanted accident. Place grills on a clean surface and away from any potentially flammable debris (e.g. mulch, leaves and recyclables). As always, parents should be extremely mindful of nearby play areas for children.
3. Use charcoal grills properly. Charcoal grills require the burning of charcoal to ignite flames necessary for cooking and thus produce carbon monoxide. For this reason, it is important to use all grills outdoors as fumes can become toxic in closed areas. You should never spray lighter fluid directly onto a fire. Instead, start with just a small amount prior to ignition and monitor the grill at all times to avoid overheating.
4. Use gas grills properly. The preferred grill of households is a gas grill that requires a propane tank for use. Always remember to follow manufacturer instructions when connecting tanks to a grill. All tanks should be stored in an upright position and carefully monitored while grilling. If possible, keep tanks and hoses away from heated surfaces.
5. Close up grills correctly once finished with them. Once you have cooked all of your tasty foods, it is time to close up shop. Before you begin covering your grill, make sure it has completely cooled down. It is also a good idea to double check all valves to ensure they have been fully turned off. Gas cylinders should be completely shut off and stored in a safe and cool place.
Tanvier Lee is a New York based lifestyle decorator, stylist and freelance writer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com