By Laura Garcia, program specialist with Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP)
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Who doesn’t love hamburgers, steaks and vegetable skewers hot off the grill? Add some tasty side dishes and the day is perfect. Keep your barbecue fun and accident free, by being knowledgeable of the dangers that coincide with grilling. Here are some tips to remember, before you strike that match.
- Before you start cooking, make sure that your grill is positioned away from your house and other structures. If hot ashes and embers fly out from the grill, structures might catch on fire. Additionally, the heat from a barbecue grill can melt siding and cause smoke damage to your residence.
- Set up your grill so that it is level and stable. A tipped over grill is a gigantic hazard. And after spending money on a great steak, the last thing you want is for it to go sliding off onto the ground.
- Before starting the fire, make sure the grill is clean. Leftover grease and food particles can cause flare-ups. Take a moment to scrub the grill with a brush.
- If you use propane instead of charcoal, check the gas tank and hose before lighting the burners. If you smell gas, do not light the match. If the flame goes out, then wait 5 minutes before relighting. Let the gas have time to clear the grill area.
- Never walk away from a lit grill, and never allow kids or animals to play around the grill. Remember that the grill is hot all over, not just on top.
- Do not saturate the coals with starting fluid, as a little goes a long way. You could end up with facial burns from a flare-up, if you are too close to the flames. Having burnt off eyebrows is not a good look!
- When working over the grill, wear appropriate clothing. Wearing short sleeves and tucked in shirts reduces the chance of catching yourself on fire.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, or baking soda, nearby in case the fire starts becoming out of control. Never use water on a grease fire, as it may cause the fire to spread.
- After you have eaten and are ready to relax, remember that the grill will stay hot for a while. Maintain watch over it, and ensure that it is completely cool to the touch before going to bed.
ASAP wants community members to enjoy a summer filled with food and safe fun.
The 2020 Summer Sense Campaign runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. So every Wednesday, listen for ASAP’s broadcast segment on AFN Bavaria. Then return to this article for the discussed recipes, quizzes and more.