With summer holidays and long weekends upon us, it is important to stay safe while enjoying the warm weather and the company of your Post members. As you begin hosting picnics, grill outs and other summer events, be sure to assess the risks of these events and implement safety measures when possible.

One of the most dangerous elements of summer get-togethers? Grills. Follow these tips to stay safe around the grill:

Using the Grill

Grilling can be one of the best parts of summer gatherings but manning the grill can be dangerous. Follow these grill safety tips:

  • Before using a grill, thoroughly clean any grease, dust or food remnants from the previous use.
  • Check the tubes leading into the burner for any blockages from insects or food grease that can cause an uncontrolled fire.
  • Place your grill away from any structures and pay attention to overhanging tree branches.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher ready, just in case.
  • Always use charcoal starter fluid, not gasoline, and never add more propellant once the fire has started.
  • Never leave hot coals on the ground. They can reach 1,000 degrees and cause severe burns to anyone who steps on them.
  • Let coals cool in the grill or smother them completely with water.
  • Never store extra propane tanks near the grill, in bright sunlight, or in the trunk of a car—it could heat up and explode. Keep it in a cool location.

While it may be tempting to leave the grill momentarily to grab a drink or catch up with someone, do not leave the grill unattended. Pass the duty along to someone else if necessary.

Food Safety

Along with grill safety comes food safety. According to the USDA, summer months see a spike the number of foodborne illnesses. As a griller, you can help prevent your fellow members and guests from getting ill with these tips:

  • Separate uncooked meat from other food.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is fully cooked. Poultry should reach 165 degrees, hamburgers and sausage to 160 degrees and beef to at least 145 degrees.
  • Refrigerate all perishable food within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees.

With these tips, you can make your Post’s summer grilling activities as safe—and tasty—as possible.