Health & Wellness

Sizzle, Flip, Yum: The Grillers’ Guide to a Deliciously Safe Holiday


Grilled hot dogs on Memorial DayMemorial Day and backyard grilling go hand in glove, or perhaps hand in spatula. Nothing whets our appetite for summer like the smell of burgers over open flame, but no one wants to end up in the ER while that juicy burger or perfectly grilled salmon goes to waste. Backyard barbecuing may be a relaxing and fun way to cook, and a tasty one for sure. But it’s also a safety hazard, especially if Frisbees are flying and kids are running around, or if the chef gets a little too friendly with the flame.

As you fire up the gas or stoke the embers on your trusty old Weber, follow the tips for a safe grilling below.

Safe Grilling Tips

Grilled hamburgers on an open flame

  • Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
  • Beware of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO), which is produced when charcoal or gas burns. CO is odorless and poisonous, so ensure adequate ventilation. Charcoal should never be burned indoors, even if there is ventilation.
  • Charcoal produces CO until the coals are completely extinguished, so never put your grill back in the garage or store indoors with coals that are still warm (which is also a fire hazard!).
  • Only use approved charcoal lighter fluid (or better yet, use a charcoal chimney and paper) to help start your fire. NEVER use gasoline, which will explode. Also, replace the starter fluid cap immediately after using and keep it away from the grill.
  • Fires and explosions from propane gas grills are the main cause of grilling injury, so be sure your grill is in good working order (most accidents result when a grill has not been used for a while or a gas tank has just been refilled/reattached).
  • Check for leaks every time you disconnect or reconnect the regulator to the propane tank. If there’s a leak, immediately turn off the gas at the tank and don’t attempt to light the grill until leak is fixed.
  • If the tank valve or gas grill needs repair, call a qualified appliance repair person –this is not a DIY job!
  • Never start a gas grill with the cover closed.
  • When not in use, make sure the gas tank valve is turned to OFF. Tank storage is also a safety hazard. Always store in an upright position and away from extreme temperatures, hot or cold. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill. Never store a full container indoors. Never keep a filled fuel container in a hot car or car trunk because heat will cause the gas pressure to increase and cause the relief valve to open and allow gas to escape.
  • Keep Frisbees and volleyballs far from open flames, so you as outdoor chef can tend the grill, not the game.

If you need great recipes to put on that grill, explore House Calls archives for some healthy favorites. Enjoy!

 

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