Summer is a great time to invite friends and neighbors over for a backyard cookout. Sunny weather and longer days offer the perfect opportunity to spend time outdoors. Avoid hazards and keep family, friends, and pets out of harm’s way with these tips for grill safety.

Practice Safety by Placing the Grill Away From the House

To reduce the risk of fire, set the grill up at least 10 feet away from the side of your home and other structures. Don’t cook on an enclosed porch, beneath an awning, or under low-hanging trees. Make sure you have plenty of clearance in case a fire breaks out.

Keep Children Safe

Teach young children not to play in the area and show them how to keep at least 5 feet away from the grill when it is in use. When you’re cooking, make sure another adult is present to keep an eye on kids and pets. Store grilling utensils and propane tanks out of the reach of children.

Clothing for Grill Safety

Appropriate clothing will go a long way in keeping you safe while you’re grilling. When cooking out, keep your apron strings tied and long hair pulled back. Don’t wear loose or baggy clothing. Natural fibers like cotton and linen are safer to wear than synthetic fabrics like polyester because they won’t melt if they catch fire.

Keep the Grill Clean

Always clean the grill after each use so it will be ready to light up next time you have friends over. Scrape the grates with a wire brush to remove grease and food particles that could catch fire. Remove the grates and soak them if you’re dealing with burnt-on food.

While the grates are soaking, clean the firebox. With the grill off, use a shop vac to remove food and debris from beneath the grates. Wait until the grill is completely cool to clean it.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

An important part of grill safety is being ready for an emergency. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby and make sure you know how to use it. If a fire occurs, turn the grill off if you can do so safely.

Prevent fire by keeping the grill clean and checking the hoses and connections from your propane tank. Apply a soapy water solution to the connectors and hoses and watch for bubbles. If you see them, this is a sign of a gas leak that should be repaired before using the grill.

Stay safe this summer and enjoy your backyard cookouts with these tips for grilling safety.

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