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Grilling safety tips to keep in mind for your summer cookout – NBC Boston

Burgers, hot dogs, chicken – grills are sizzling this holiday week as summer cookout season moves into full swing! 

Chances are you’re more concerned about what’s on the menu than the condition of your grill. But grill safety is something you need to think about.

A recent survey found that consumers are taking risks when grilling.

“There are a lot of mistakes people are making when it comes to the grill.  And that doesn’t include the mistakes people make when they’re cooking,” says Divya Sangameshwar, a home insurance expert with Value Penguin by Lending Tree.

According to a recent Value Penguin survey, 15% of backyard chefs say they have been injured grilling,  30% admit to buzzed barbecuing, 21% of parents with children younger than 18 have let their kids grill unsupervised, 62%say they don’t always inspect the grill to make sure it’s working properly and 42% don’t clean their grill after every use.

“This was the most disgusting finding, in my opinion,” said Sangameshwar. “A majority of Americans who are renting out an Airbnb or using some sort of communal grill, they’re not cleaning it before they barbeque it. And that’s really terrifying because you don’t know what kind of critters have sat on that grill. You don’t know what the previous griller has done.”

“Look at it, top to bottom. Check for holes,” suggested Andrea Vastis, the senior director of public education at The National Fire Protection Association.  “Check to make sure no critters have made little nests inside the grill. And then certainly you want to make sure to clean out the grease traps or any leftover food, grease and debris at the bottom that could catch fire when you start up the grill.”

According to the association, July is the peak month for grill fires.

“We actually have about 10,000 home fires a year that are just related to grills,” said Vastis.  “And then there are also thousands of burn injuries that happen from contact with the grill. This is a really hot piece of equipment. And actually kids under the age of 5 account for half of those contact burns injuries that go to the ER every year due to grills.”

Always position your grill away from your house and deck railings, keep kids and pets at least three feet away and stay sober when using it.

“Designate a cooker. Wait until you are done using this incredibly hot piece of equipment to enjoy your beverage because that’s how mistakes happen,” said Vastis.   “Never leave that grill unattended. We have a saying in the kitchen, stand by your pan. You need to stand by your grill.  Please do not step away from that grill….things can happen in a split second. Someone must always be designated to keep an eye on that grill.”

If you have a gas grill, you can check for leaks by covering the hose with soapy water.  A propane leak will release bubbles.  

If you ever smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department.

And use a meat thermometer when you’re grilling so you don’t end up eating undercooked meat.

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