By 21st Space Wing Safety Office
Cooking outdoors – in parks, campgrounds and back yards – is an enjoyable summer pastime. Yet while barbecues provide a fun and casual dining experience, they also provide the ideal conditions for a costly mishap. Barbecue grills appear to be harmless, but misuse and carelessness result in thousands of terrible injuries each year.
While we are anxious to fire up the grill for the first cookout of spring, it’s important to remember a few safety tips.
- Always cook in a well-ventilated area with good lighting.
- Keep grills or fire-pits well away from tents, bushes and dry leaves.
- Keep the grill off wooden decks and away from children’s play areas and low-hanging tree branches.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid; don’t add fluid to an already lit fire.
- Be sure to supervise children around outdoor grills.
- Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line.
- Barbecue only in open spaces, never inside a tent, garage, trailer or home. Deadly carbon monoxide can build up.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Be extra careful on windy days.
- Use proper methods to start the fire. Refer to the grill manufacturer’s instructions located on the starter-fluid labels.
- Dispose of charcoals and embers properly. Drench embers with water and smother with dirt. Place coals in a proper can.
- Don’t wear loose clothing that could easily catch fire. Roll up your sleeves, tuck in shirttails and make sure apron strings won’t hang over the grill.
- Keep food to be cooked in the refrigerator until you’re ready to start cooking.
- An instant-read thermometer is the best way to check meat doneness. Length of cooking time varies with the starting temperature of the meat, and wind and weather conditions.
- Never place cooked food on the same platter that held the raw food.
Follow these guidelines and make your summer even more enjoyable.