Whether it's for the holiday weekend or just another gorgeous day in Michigan, nothing says summer like the smell of grilling wafting through the neighborhood. It's one of our favorite parts of summer and a great way to gather the family together to savor the long, hot days. Unfortunately, when folks gather around the grill this summer, risk factors also increase.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, US Fire Departments respond to over 8,200 home fires involving some sort of outdoor grill per year. These 8,200 fires have caused 15 deaths, 120 injuries and $75 million in property damage.
But this doesn't mean you have to throw water on the coals just yet. You can stay safe and still enjoy your delicious food by following just a few safety tips.
- Never grill inside. Besides the obvious fire hazard, grilling inside your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area can result in an accumulation of carbon monoxide - possibly enough to be deadly. The safest place to set up your grill will be a well-ventilated area on a flat surface, outdoors and away from buildings and others.
- Any utensils (forks, tongs, etc.) should have long handles and you should use flame retardant mitts to avoid burns and splatters.
- If a grease fire occurs, don't panic, and never throw water on a grease fire! Use baking soda to control a grease fire. You should also have a fire extinguisher handy to be sure flames do not get out of control. A bucket of sand can be used as a substitute if you don't have a working extinguisher. Remember to use the sand or baking soda first, and then you can apply water from a nearby hose if needed.
- Never leave a grill unattended once it's lit.
- Don’t allow children to play near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill will remain very hot to the touch for up to an hour or more once it’s been extinguished.
- Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burn yourself or someone helping you.
Whether you’re grilling for an outdoor party or just tonight’s dinner, employing safe grilling habits is the hallmark of any true pit master.