CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — As summer heats up, so do the barbecue grills. Here are some grilling and cooking safety tips to keep you safe all year long.
General barbecue grill safety
• Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area by declaring a three-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill.
• Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
• Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
• Only use grills outdoors! If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
• Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
• Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles.
• If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
Turn off the propane tank and grill.
If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
• If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911. Do not move the grill.
• All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices, or OPD. OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
• Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
• Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
Kitchen tips — watch what you heat
• The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
• If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
• Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
Keep things that can catch fire and heat sources apart
• Keep anything that can catch fire — potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
• Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.
• Keep pets off cooking surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
• Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
By following these simple tips you can make sure the only thing that sizzles is your food.