Stay Safe this Summer with Outdoor Grilling Tips

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CULLMAN – During the warm climate season, when a hard week at work winds down and the weekend arrives, it can be an opportune time to have an outdoor barbecue. Unfortunately, as tasty as grilling is, it can also be a risky way to cook. Before volunteering to host the neighborhood cookout, keep these tips in mind.

Charcoal grills are slightly more dangerous than gas grills. Though gas is explosive, a charcoal fire is harder to contain and extinguish.

“We recommend everyone keep and have a fire extinguisher for grilling,” said Jason Heaton, Fire Inspector at Cullman Fire Rescue.

Tips from the National Fire Protection Association as recommended by Cullman Fire Rescue:

• Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
• The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
• Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
• Never leave a grill unattended.

Before using a propane grill:

• Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.

Checking the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks:

• Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. • Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see). • If there are no bubbles, the grill is safe to use. • If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. • If the leak does not stop, call the fire department immediately.

After the propane grill is on:
• If a gas smelled is noticed while cooking, turn off the gas tank and burners.
• If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
• If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Lighting Charcoal Grills:
• There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow the charcoal to be started by using newspaper as a fuel.
• If using a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
• Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
• There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
• When finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Cooking on a propane or gas grill gives a particular taste to food, but grilling can be dangerous. Take precautionary measures to ensure a safe summer.