Summertime is barbecue time, and having a cookout with friends is a summer tradition. Before you fire up that grill or smoker, here are some safety things to consider.

• Know your grill – Read the owner’s manual.
• Grills are for outside, only – Don’t barbecue in a trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide can kill you.
• Use in well-ventilated area – Set up your grill in an open area away from buildings, combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Avoid high traffic areas and be aware of wind-blown sparks.
• Keep your grill stable – make sure that all parts of the unit are in place and the grill can’t be tipped over.
• Use long-handled utensils (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.
• Don’t wear clothes that have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire.
• Use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
• Keep fire under control – To put out flare-ups, raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you need to douse the flames with a light spritz of water, take    the food off of the grill first.
• Be ready in case of fire – Use baking soda to control grease fires and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
• Consider placing a grill pad or splatter mat under your grill – These will protect your deck or patio from any grease that misses the drip pan.
• Never leave a grill unattended once lit.
• Stay away from hot grill. – Don’t cook in an area where others are active. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.
• Don’t move a hot grill – It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.

Gas Safety
Before you start using your gas grill, check it for gas leaks, hose deterioration, and burner obstructions. Use a soap and water solution to test for leaks. Clean your grill at least twice a year. The best times are at the start and end of your grilling season.
• Watch for rust
• If you refill your own tank, paint it to make it more rustproof
• When you buy or refill a cylinder, make sure you transport it in an upright position, and that it won’t shift or roll when you’re driving
• Once you’ve picked up a filled container, take it straight home. Don’t pick up a cylinder and then go shopping. If the outside temperature is in the
90’s, the inside of an enclosed car or trunk can reach 125 degrees in 20 minutes. Gas cylinders should never be stored in an area the reaches
over 120 degrees.
• Check the regulator, hoses, burner parts, and valve section to make sure there aren’t any
cracks or other damage
• Always turn off gas at the source, (tank or supply line), and make sure the grill is cooled
before inspecting any parts.
• Check owner’s manual for any additional maintenance requirements.

Personal Safety
• Never connect or disconnect a cylinder when the grill is on or is hot.
• Never use a cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, or excessive rust.
• When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent a flash off from gas build-up.
• Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking.
• If a burner doesn’t ignite, turn off the gas. Keep the grill lid open and wait five minutes before trying to light it again. If the burners go out during operation, turn all gas valves to OFF. Open the lid and wait five minutes before attempting to relight, using lighting instructions.

A charcoal briquette or wood burning grill or smoker can be lit using starter fluid, instant light briquettes, an electric starter, or metal chimney.

Starter fluid
When using starter fluid to light charcoal briquettes or wood chunks form a pyramid and douse with lighter fluid. Wait until fluid has soaked in before lighting.
• Cap lighter fluid immediately and place a safe distance from grill.
• Never add lighter fluid to coals that are already hot or warm.
• Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other highly volatile fluids as a starter. They can explode.

Instant light briquettes
If you use instant light briquettes to start your grill, don’t use them with any other type of starter. Don’t add more instant light briquettes once the fire has been started. Add only regular charcoal briquettes if you need more.

Electric starter
Never use an electric starter in the rain and/or when standing on wet ground. Unplug and remove a hot starter with caution and be careful where you put it. Always cool starter completely before storing.

Chimney type starter
A chimney starter is used by placing charcoal in the chimney so that they stack on top of the grate. Once the all of the charcoal is glowing red with an ash coating, dump the charcoal into the grill.

One you’re done grilling, let the coals to burn out completely and let ashes cool at least 48 hours. Dispose of cold ashes by wrapping in heavy-duty aluminum foil and placing in non-combustible container. Be sure no other combustible materials are nearby. If you need to dispose of ashes before they’re completely cooled, place them in heavy-duty foil and soak with water completely before disposing in non-combustible container.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can be sure to have a safe grilling season, and that the only things that may get burned are your steaks.

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