Can you believe it? The outside temperature is finally beginning to rise, and for all of you anxious grillers, it’s time to roll that dust covered grill out of storage, clean it up, fire it up, and begin enjoying some of that good ol’ summertime barbecue!

Every year, people pull their grills out of storage and begin enjoying grilled foods. Along with this summer tradition, thousands of house fires and severe or fatal injuries follow.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind with the grilling season among us.

Make sure your grill is secured from tipping:

• Set up your grill on a flat surface and secure, if necessary, to avoid grill from possibly tipping over.

• Keep the exterior and interior of grill clean. A greasy grill is an unsafe grill!

• Grease buildup can cause an unexpected flare-up and cause an unwanted emergency.

Be cautious when choosing placement of grill:

• Avoid grilling near or against a combustible structure.

• Make sure that tree branches are not in direct line with open flames or extreme heat.

• Keep area around grill clean of debris.

• It’s a good idea to place a grilling mat under grill to provide additional fire protection.

If burner flame goes out, wait before attempting to re-light:

• If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill burners and the gas to the off position; wait at least “five minutes” before turning the gas back on and attempting to re-light the burners.

Be careful when using charcoal starter fluid:

• If you are using a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid. DO NOT USE GASOLINE! If the fire starts to go out, use a fire starter or paper to restart.

• DO NOT squirt starter fluid from container near or onto hot coals.

Wear proper grilling apparel:

• Clothing can easily catch fire, so be sure your shirt tails, sleeves or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill. Use elbow length grill mitts when turning food or removing food. Always use proper length grill utensils to reach items at back of grill without having to reach across open flame.

Be prepared for the unanticipated:

• Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire.

• Have fire extinguisher nearby if needed.

• If an uncontrollable grease flare up happens, close cover immediately.

• Remember, do not try to extinguish flame with water!

• Grease and water do not mix!

After grilling is completed:

• Remember – When using a gas grill, turn gas valve on propane cylinder to the full off position when grill is not in use:

• When grilling is complete, always turn gas valve to the off position. If burner knobs are bumped or accidently moved into the open position, gas will flow from the propane cylinder into the grill. This could cause an explosion and cause serious injury or death.

• Never leave hot grill unattended when surface is hot. A hot grill can cause severe burns and should be placed in a safe area when not being supervised. Never place apron on grill after removing unless you are sure grill is cool.

• If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to completely burn and cool before disposing of them. If possible, always discard coals in a metal container.

• Remember, “Safety begins with you!”

“If you want my opinion, everything tastes better on a grill. So get those grills fired up and enjoy the taste and smells of summer barbecuing.”

Jerry Trupka, Housing/Services Director, Siena Court Assisted Living, Wahpeton.

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