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Gas Grilling Safety Tips

Americans' love affair with grilling continues to grow, according to a 2013 study conducted by the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA). The study revealed that more than 80 percent of U.S. households own a grill or smoker. And, as summer approaches — the peak time of the year for grilling — one of our nation's most popular pastimes heats up. What's more fun than a barbecue with family and friends? It's easy, convenient and keeps the kitchen cool, plus foods cook quickly and taste delicious!

The National Fire Protection Association reminds us that June and July are peak months for grilling accidents making this the perfect time for a refresher course on the following safe grilling tips:

  1. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Whether it is assembly, use, maintenance, cleaning or storage, make your grill manufacturer's instructions your "go-to" resource for safe grilling.

  2. Position the grill in a safe location. Keep your grill outdoors at least five feet from the house on a level surface that is clear of outdoor furniture, overhead trees, or other potential fire hazards, including deck railings and eaves.

  3. Check for leaks. It's important to inspect your cylinder and outdoor gas appliances for leaks. Do this before using them for the first time each season, and on a regular basis. This can be accomplished with a simple "bubble" test. Apply leak detector solution or thick soapy water to check the connections between the cylinder valve and the regulator outlet for leaks. Slowly open the cylinder valve and watch for bubbles. Expanding bubbles indicate a leak. If bubbles appear, close the cylinder valve, tighten the connection, and repeat the process. If bubbles still appear, call your propane retailer immediately. Follow this procedure every time you replace a cylinder.

  4. Follow proper lighting procedures. Follow the manufacturer's lighting instructions. With all grill models, keep lid open and don't lean over the grill when lighting.

  5. Follow proper re-lighting procedures. If the flame goes out, turn off the gas and refer to your owner's manual. At a minimum, with all grill models, keep the lid open and wait at least 15 minutes before relighting.

  6. Be present. Stay close and never leave your grill unattended. Keep children and pets away from the grill.

  7. Do not move a hot grill.

  8. Never store or place a propane cylinder indoors or in an enclosed area such as a basement, garage, shed, tent or under or near a barbecue grill. Never store or place a propane cylinder in an area of excessive heat (120 degrees or higher) or near a stove, fireplace, or other heat source. Do not smoke or have any ignition sources such as flames or spark-producing electrical tools in the area while handling or transporting a propane cylinder.
  9. Use long-handled utensils to avoid burns and spatters. Do not wear anything with hanging shirttails, frills or apron strings. Use flame retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.

  10. Use baking soda to control a grease fire and be sure to have a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby. Never spray water on a grease fire. Water will only make a grease fire expand very rapidly.

These safety tips will help ensure you have a fun, safe grilling season. The main "ingredient" in outdoor cooking safety is common sense. This information is not intended to take the place of your grill manufacturer's instructions. Always read and follow your grill manufacturer's instructions. Happy grilling!

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