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Have a Safe and Sizzlin' Summer!

Barbecue Safety Tips

There are many reasons to dust off the backyard barbecue this month: warmer weather, poolside parties, and of course Father’s Day! Unfortunately, 5,000 Americans suffer from grill-related injuries annually and an average 6,500 grill fires cause nearly $27 million in property damages. The good news is that these injuries and damages are 100% preventable if you practice the following safe grilling habits. After all, our Kern County summers are hot enough without an out-of-control flame!

Prep is Key: This seems like a no-brainer, but be sure you only barbecue outdoors, away from the home and any other wooden or flammable structures. Grilling in enclosed areas creates carbon monoxide which is toxic for you and your family. Before your first barbecue, be sure to check whether your equipment is still in top form. For propane grills, this means checking for gas leaks: you can easily do this by checking that the hose connection is tight and by applying soapy water over the hose and connectors. If this mixture bubbles up, immediately turn off the grill and replace the part. For both charcoal and gas grills, be sure the grease and leftover food buildup is removed with a stiff wire brush from the racks and trays before you even begin to think about grilling. These leftover particles can ignite and cause unintentional fires.

While You Grill: Never leave your grill unattended! Be sure you have all of your necessary utensils and foods within reach after you begin the grilling process, including long-handled utensils and a fire extinguisher in case of emergency. When starting your charcoal grill, be sure to only use charcoal lighter fluid, not gasoline, and never reapply lighter fluid after the fire has started. When starting your gas grill, be sure the grill top is open, since lighting a closed grill can cause a gas buildup and a possible explosion.

Safety First: In addition to staying with your barbecue at all times, create a “three-foot safe zone” around the grill to keep children and pets a safe distance from the hot surface. While grilling, do not wear loose clothing or aprons with loose strings to avoid catching fire, and make sure everyone present knows how to “stop, drop, and roll” just in case. In addition to fire safety, be sure to practice proper food safety by using an internal meat thermometer inserted through the thickest part of meat or poultry. The safe internal temperature for cooked poultry and beef is 165 degrees Fahrenheit and 155 degrees Fahrenheit for pork.

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Tags: Featured Story, Food & Home, Health, Party and Entertainment

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