Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. My family does not let a summer weekend go by without finding something to celebrate and a reason to get together and have a barbecue – Memorial Day, Father’s Day, the 4th of July and 4 birthdays all within a week of each other at the end of July (mine, my mom, my daughter, and my sister)! My husband and I recently became homeowners, so our families can’t wait to come over and fire up the grill at our new place.
One thing that goes along with being a homeowner and hostess of these family gatherings is making sure I have everything I need to keep my guests happy and safe while they are in my home.
Since joining the Safe Kids team I learned that, according to our partners at the United State Fire Administration (USFA), each year fire departments respond to thousands of home grill fires which end up causing millions of dollars in property damage – that’s a bit unsettling of a statistic for a new home owner. Now that my husband and I are the ones doing the grilling, we have some key safety tips that we’ll be keeping in mind as we gear up for this summer’s grilling season:
- Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches and a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
- When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Grill only outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as garages or tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
Also, as parents of a busy 7-year-old who wants to help do everything, we make sure that our daughter knows to stay away from the grill. Just like she knows that she is not allowed within a certain area of the stove in the kitchen, the same goes for the grill outside. Make it a point to:
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately.
- Always supervise children around outdoor grills.
Remember to never leave your grill unattended while you are cooking. The number one cause of residential fires is unattended cooking. Sounds like a lot to remember, but these are small things we can do to take full advantage of long summer days, keep our food tasting good, and keep our families safe. Enjoy your summer and let’s get grilling!
For more information on grilling safety, visit:
- National Fire Protection Association – Grilling Safety
- United States Fire Administration – Summer Fire Safety