Barbecue Safety

614_BBQJune is right around the corner. And it's a great time to get fired up with the start of the summer season and the opportunity to take advantage of one of the season's greatest perks — barbecues. And while outdoor grilling can make hamburgers, fish, and vegetables even tastier, it does present some dangers. In fact, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), outside cooking grills cause more than 6,000 fires and $35 million in property loss each year.

To avoid a dangerous fire from happening in your backyard, follow these simple steps:

  • Position your grill at least 10 feet away from the house and other outdoor structures.
  • Keep your grill away from trees and shrubs.
  • Never use your grill under overhangs or carports or inside covered areas, such as your garage. You will not only run the risk of damage from the flames, but also risk exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • Always place your grill on a flat surface to ensure it doesn't fall or move during operation.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothes while tending to your grill.
  • Keep children away from the barbecue and never leave your barbecue unattended.
  • Regularly clean your grill to remove grease and grime buildup.
  • Do not overload your grill with too much meat. Excess grease or fat will cause the flames to increase.
  • If you have a propane tank, do not overfill it.
  • Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher, water bottle, or hose near your grill in the event of fire.

Barbecue safety doesn't just involve protection against fire damage; it also involves taking care in preparing and cooking your food. Here are some tips to ensure you and your barbecue guests stay healthy:

  • Always wash your hands before and after you touch raw meat or fish.
  • Never use the same utensils on raw food as you do on ready-to-serve foods.
  • Make sure to refrigerate meats and fish until you are ready to grill them.
  • Ensure all your meat, especially chicken and pork are thoroughly cooked.

For more information on summer food safety, visit FoodSafety.gov.