Food & Health: 5 safety tips for every griller


(NC) Barbecuing is a summer staple, but the return of warmer weather also increases the chances of a home fire.

The National Fire Protection Association reports outdoor grilling causes an average of 10,200 home fires each year – and with over 80 per cent of Canadian households owning a grill or smoker, it’s important to take the right precautions.

Before you fire up the barbecue for your next cookout, check out these five safety tips to help protect you and your home.

  1. Cook outside and away from structures. Position the grill well away from anything that can catch fire – like siding, deck railings and overhanging branches. Always make sure it’s set up on an even surface in an open, well-ventilated area.
  2. Clean and inspect your barbecue. Remove all grease and fat buildup from the grills and trays. If you have a charcoal barbecue, make sure the coals have cooled down completely before you get rid of them. Before and after each use, inspect all parts for any needed maintenance or leaks.
  3. Use the right tools. Use long-handled grilling tools to provide plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers, and use flame-retardant oven mitts when readjusting those hot vents. Also, make sure your shirttails, sleeves or apron strings don’t dangle over the grill.
  4. Create a safe zone. You should never leave a lit barbecue unattended. For an extra level of protection, keep children and pets away from the cooking area by declaring a three-foot “safe zone” to prevent any accidents.
  5. Be ready to put out a fire. Even if you’re following all safety tips, be prepared with a fire extinguishing device nearby just in case, like the portable First Alert EZ Fire Spray. It’s easy to use – just point and spray – and features a familiar lightweight spray-can design. Plus, it discharges four times longer than regular extinguishers and is easy to clean up with just a damp towel.
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