Warmer weather means more time spent outdoors. Working in your garden, lounging on the deck, and firing up the grill are popular summer pastimes. But before you head outside to cook burgers, prepare with these grilling safety tips.

Grilling Safety Tips for Your Next Summer Cookout

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 10,200 home fires are started by a grill every year. Below are some grilling safety tips to keep you safe at your next summer cookout.

1. Create a Grilling Safety Zone

Both gas and charcoal grills are for outdoor use only, so it’s important to create a safe grilling area for cooking outside. If you’re on your deck, make sure that your grill is placed at least 10 feet away from the house. Trim low-hanging branches that may catch fire and keep outdoor items like patio furniture at least 10 feet from the grill.

2. Don’t Leave the Grill Unattended

Running back inside to grab the barbeque sauce seems harmless enough. Unfortunately, it only takes seconds for a fire to get out of control or for small children to suffer serious burns. Play it safe and prep everything you need to cook outside before lighting the grill.

3. Clean Your Grill

Take the time to clean the grill as soon as it cools down. Saying you’ll clean the grill later becomes a perpetual cycle, which leads to built-up grease on the rack and inside the grill. Grease and fat caked on the grill are flammable and turn the grill into a fire hazard.

4. Grilling Safety Means Outdoor Use Only

Using a grill indoors is unsafe for your family. Even if your grill doesn’t combust, odorless carbon monoxide releases into your home. Always keep gas and charcoal grills outside. If you want to grill inside, there are electric models that are designed specifically for indoor use.

5. Grilling Too Much Food

Another grilling safety tip for your next summer barbeque is to not cook too much food at one time. Putting all the food on the grill at once is not the best idea. If you’re grilling meats with a lot of fat, the grease can drip down into the flames and cause a fire. Grilling smaller batches not only takes less time and is safer, but your food will also cook more evenly.

6. Igniting with the Lid Closed

Lighting or igniting your grill with the lid closed can cause an explosion from the build-up of gas. Always open the lid when lighting your grill and if the flame goes out, turn off the gas, and wait five minutes before relighting.

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