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Grills, Grub…and Safety!

May 26, 2010

Memorial Day is almost upon us. The official kick-off to summer fun, a popular activity for Memorial Day weekend is grilling out some grub with friends and loved ones. But one thing you may not be looking forward to is a trip to the local emergency room, which will happen to 19,000 Americans this year due to lack of grill safety precautions.

There are some basic tips to keep in mind before you ever light your grill. Keep your grill in an open area; don’t cook under a roof, car port or awning, because those can easily catch fire. (I need to go home and move my grill now; it’s under an overhang because we cooked out while it was raining. Oops.) Also be aware of any tree branches that may hang over the grill, and make sure to either cut those down, or move the grill to a different location. It’s important to keep the grill away from your house or any other building, like a shed or garage.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case. (Ladies, you may have to provide this, since most men will think they don’t need one. Kind of like directions.) It’s important to know how to use it, too. It’s really very simple. Remember the word PASS. Pull the pin, Aim the extinguisher, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep back and forth in a continuous motion.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, use only lighter fluid to start the fire. Don’t ever use gasoline or kerosene, because both are extremely flammable and can explode. And you really don’t want to have to use that fire extinguisher.

After you’ve got everything ready to go, and your coals are burning, remember to NEVER leave the grill unattended. Also make sure to keep kids and pets away, as they won’t realize how hot the grill can be. Coals can reach up to 1000 degrees, so let them cool completely before disposing of them. If your fire starts to dwindle, never add more lighter fluid while there is still fire present. Remember Chevy Chase in European Vacation? It’s very embarrassing to lose your eyebrows.

Last but not least, use flame retardant oven mitts and barbecue tongs while cooking. Don’t burn yourself, it’s not fun. Just to drive the point home on how important grill safety is, take a moment to watch this video and see how quickly an unattended grill can go up in smoke. And flames. We here at Car Country wish you a safe and festive Memorial Day!

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