Grilling is a rite of summer that needs also to be taken seriously. Fire departments respond to an average of 8,600 home fires across the country each year that involve gas-fired or charcoal grills. The National Fire Protection Association says those fires result in an average of 10 deaths, 140 injuries and nearly $75 million in property damage each year.
Nearly 83 percent of these fires involve gas-fired grills. About 40 percent start on a courtyard, terrace or patio and 28 percent on a front porch or balcony.
Fire officials offer the following safety tips for grilling:
- When lighting a gas grill for the first time, make certain the lid is open or in an up position.
- To maintain a gas grill, keep it covered when not in use, replace worn or defective parts, check the gas valve to connections, use soapy water only to check for leaks, and always make certain the supply knobs and the propane tank itself are completely turned off.
- Never use an accelerant (lighter fluid or charcoal lighting fluid) to light a gas grill
- Keep children away from the grill.
- Keep the grill away from the home, and do not grill in or under any structure.
- For charcoal grills, never use anything other than charcoal briquettes (wood or cardboard). Use approved charcoal grill fluid to ignite the charcoal.
What’s more, health officials say an estimated 48 million Americans get sick each year from food-borne illnesses like E. coli and Salmonella. Simple steps can help to reduce your risk of being sickened by contaminated foods.
Health authorities offer these tips for safe food handling:
- Clean all cutting boards and surfaces that come in contact with raw food.
- Use two cutting boards — one for raw meat, chicken and fish and one for vegetables or other foods that will not be cooked
- Wash hands for at least 20 seconds in warm soapy water before and after preparing foods.
- Ensure food is thoroughly cooked by inserting a food thermometer at an angle into the thickest part of the meat, chicken or fish to check the internal temperature. Cook hamburgers to at least 160 degrees, chicken and stuffed meats to at least 165 degrees, and steak, pork, fish and whole beef or pork roasts to at least 145 degrees.
- Keep cold foods in the refrigerator until serving time, and keep hot food hot by using tabletop equipment, such as chafing dishes and sternos.
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Discard food that has been left out for four or more hours.
Grilling out is the perfect opportunity for good times with family and friends. Yet accidents can happen – and they may not be your fault. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or taken ill because of someone else’s negligence, our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm may be able to help. Call (888) 324-3100 or send us a message to gain valuable answers about your legal options.