When summer arrives, we all start thinking of outdoor activities as the days get longer and we want to spend more time outside. One of the most popular warm weather activities is grilling. Nothing beats the taste of foods cooked on the grill, and it also affords the opportunity to enjoy relaxing family time. Another popular activity is sitting around the fire pit with family and friends. Anytime you are participating in activities that include fire, it is important to take appropriate safety precautions. Before you light up your next fire, let’s consider a few things.
If you are using a gas grill, like any gas appliance, there are components that deteriorate over time, even when infrequently used. Whether your gas grill is brand new or not, simple checks can reassure you of safety. For gas grill hoses, easy to do soap and water checks for leaks could help avoid a catastrophic accident. Also check connectors and tighten if loose. If a leak is detected, do not use the appliance until it has been serviced by a professional. If you notice a gas odor, notify the fire department and avoid close proximity to the grill.
Remember, it’s not only the cook that gets close to the grill. During a cookout, often the entire family is nearby. When you are lighting a grill, be cautious with lighter fluid, matches or igniters if there are children present. There are now safer methods for starting charcoal grills, newspaper chimney starters and electric igniters, for example. Other things to make sure you do is to position your grill away from structures and low-hanging tree branches and ensure you place potentially flammable items well away from the grill. Never apply lighter fluid to a flame as many accidents result from this common practice. It is also important to keep your grill clean as excess grilling residue may cause the flames to flare up unexpectedly.
Relaxing around a firepit is another potentially dangerous activity. Like grills, lighting the flame can be dangerous and you need to be mindful of what is nearby. It is important to educate children about the danger of getting too close including touching any part of the firepit not just the flame. One thing with a fire pit is to make sure you aren’t burning things you shouldn’t be. Some items release more ash and debris when burning than others and this can cause flames to spread unexpectedly.
Following these safety tips will ensure you have a safe and fun summer as you spend more time outside with family and friends.
The Janis Penick Team
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