Barbecue Safety Tips for Summer
Barbecues outdoors in the summer are an essential part of the seasonal experience. Unfortunately, accidents occur during backyard barbecues with much more frequency than is reasonable. From equipment malfunctions and fires to sickness resulting from poor food handling, safe summer barbecuing requires taking a variety of elements into account. Here are some helpful safety tips to make your summer barbecues a success.
Monitor and Control Fires
One of the most important and obvious safety tips for barbecues relates to fires. From the grill to the fire pit, monitoring and controlling fires is absolutely essential. Grills of every type and smokers always carry a risk of fire, so monitor them carefully. Never leave a grill unattended for long periods of time. Unattended flames are a principal cause of fires. Make certain to also keep run the grill in an open, well ventilated area away from potentially flammable objects. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand in the event flames get out of control or a grease fire erupts. For gas grills, make sure you understand how to quickly shut off the fuel supply.
Take Care with Equipment
A very basic part of barbecue safety is understanding how to use the equipment safety and efficiently. While this may seem obvious, different styles and models of grills function differently and familiarity with one does not always equate to familiarity with all. Keep in mind the safety risks involved in both charcoal and gas grills and always take care when preparing and igniting the grill. Gas grills can require more maintenance when in use; charcoal can be dangerous when igniting. Always check the connections to the propane tank on gas grills and know how to quickly turn of the gas and take care when igniting the grill. For charcoal, be careful how much lighter fluid you use to ignite the coals and never let the fluid sit and evaporate for an extended amount of time as this could lead to explosions of flames. Use a coal bucket and a small amount of lighter fluid.
Prepare and Handle Food Safely
Preventing food borne illness is an important and frequently overlooked part of barbecue safety. Food is often left in open air outdoors while the grill is heating, leaving ample opportunity for bacteria to flourish. Raw meat and vegetables are all susceptible to contamination before cooking, and these foods should always be prepared separately to prevent cross contamination. Bacteria thrives at all temperatures above freezing to about 165 degrees, so keep meat and vegetables covered and refrigerated until ready to cook. There’s no reason to get sick or sicken others through careless food handling or preparation, so take care with uncooked food and barbecue equipment for a safe and enjoyable summer barbecue experience.