Steak on Grill

Eating meals together is a natural way to connect with people. Everyone has to eat. So, why not use the time to connect with others. It seems so innocent, but harm can come when planning and common sense is not used.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 16,000 people on average are sent to the emergency room each year from grill-related injuries. July is the most common month for grill-related fires and also a popular time for organizations to host group cookouts. If you're planning to fire up the grill at upcoming events, here are five tips to help you safely serve up tasty food – and fun.

1. Look For Level Ground

Scope out a good spot for grilling during the planning stages of your events. Find a flat surface that is out of the way of activity and play areas to prevent the grill from tipping over and/or injuring guests. Also avoid areas with low-hanging branches, dry grass or combustible materials. Grills should never be operated on wood decks or closer than 10 feet from any building.

2. Handle Propane Carefully

Before grilling, check the grill for leaks. Never use an old propane tank or one that is low on fuel. Always turn the propane cylinder valve to the closed position when done grilling. As a reminder, propane tanks should never be kept indoors.

3. Have An Emergency Plan

Never leave a grill unattended when fuel is burning or the fire is going. Always have a working fire extinguisher available when grilling. Do not use water to put out grill fires. If the smell of propane gas is detected at any point, immediately turn off the gas and the burners. Move far away from the grill and call the fire department.

4. Properly Prepare And Store Food

Smart food handling measures include avoiding cross contamination, making sure cold items stay cold and cooking food thoroughly. Here are safe-to-eat meat temperatures:

  • Whole Poultry: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Poultry Breasts: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Ground Poultry: 165 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Ground Meats: 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Beef, Pork, Lamb and Veal (Steaks, Roasts, Chops): 145 degrees Fahrenheit (allow to rest at least three minutes)

5. Clean Up When You're Done

Cleaning up after a cookout isn't just a courtesy – it also prolongs the life of the grill. Before cleaning, double check that the grill is off and that you have the right tools for the job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns about the use of wire grill brushes. The wires from these brushes can easily stick to the grates of the grill, ultimately ending up in food and potentially causing fatal injuries. Instead, use a damp cloth, aluminum foil, and soft- or nylon-bristled brushes.

Grill Safety Graphic

(Article Courtesy: GuideOne)

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