Enjoying your home to the fullest in the summertime usually includes a barbecue out on the patio or deck. It’s important to remember some safety precautions to take both with the equipment you use to grill and the food you are grilling.
- Maintaining an adequate distance between the grill and the outside wall of the house is important to reduce the chance of fire. Gas and charcoal grills should never be used indoors, in closed garages or on enclosed patios and balconies. Not only is fire a threat in these areas, the toxins released by the charcoal can be dangerous.
- Make sure the grill is placed on a level floor so it won’t tip, and set it away from any potential flammable objects such as cars, lawn mowers, gas tanks or compost heaps. Keep a clear walking path from the grill to the eating area so there is no danger of tripping and knocking down the grill. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy for any emergencies and keep an eye on children in the area.
- Another barbecuing concern is the preparation of the food, especially the E. coli bacteria. To avoid contamination, handle raw meat carefully. Keep it separate from other foods and never reuse a plate on which raw meat has been placed. Wash your hands in warm, soapy water after handling raw meat and clean all surfaces and utensils that touch raw meat with hot, soapy water before using with other food. Meat should be thawed on a plate in the refrigerator or microwave oven, not out at room temperature.
- Food should be cooked to a safe internal temperature - judged by using a food thermometer - to destroy harmful bacteria. Don’t simply judge its doneness by how brown it is on the outside. Don’t leave food sitting out for more than an hour; promptly refrigerate any leftovers.
- After you’ve grilled the perfect hamburger you’ll want to relax and enjoy eating it. That means keeping the bugs away. To help lessen insects’ intrusion on your picnic, keep sweets and sodas covered and capped and eat while it is still light to avoid mosquitoes in the evening. Use spray repellent, mosquito coils or citronella-laced candles or torches to help keep the pests away. And most importantly, have a safe and fun barbecue!