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There’s nothing like a summer gathering with all kinds of food getting grilled. But is your barbecue zone as safe as it can be?

Recently, Farm Bureau Financial Services (FBFS) reached out to remind consumers that every year, way too many kids show up at the emergency room suffering grill-related injuries.

They may look cool, but charcoal and gas grills can stay hot for hours after cooking, and it only takes a second to inflict a serious burn, according to the Bureau.

Having a fire extinguisher and knowing how to use it is also important. Remember: Even small fires can spread quickly, so the biggest concern is always getting yourself and others to safety, then calling for help.

Here’s a few more safety pointers from FBFS:

  • Your grill should be located on a flat surface and not be at risk for moving, sliding or toppling over.
  • Use proper charcoal starter fluid, not gasoline or kerosene.
  • Keep starter fluid capped and away from your grill.
  • Don’t add starter fluid to hot coals.
  • Wait 48 hours before disposing of charcoal and ashes.
  • Avoid grilling while drinking alcohol—you might be tempted to partake in the festivities, but save your merrymaking until after the crew has been fed.

The Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE) also recommends:

  • Heed your grill manufacturer’s instructions—they are your go-to resource for safe grilling.
  • Keep your grill at least five to 10 feet from the house on a level surface, clear of all furniture, overhead trees or other potential fire hazards.
  • Use soapy water to check connections for leaks. Expanding bubbles indicate a leak. Follow this procedure every time you replace a cylinder.
  • Always keep the lid open and don’t lean over the grill when lighting it.
  • Propane tanks should never be stored indoors or in an enclosed area like a basement, garage or shed.
  • Be present. Stay close and never leave your grill unattended.

Safety for Kids adds that your grilling area should always be designated as a “No Play Zone,” keeping kids and pets away even after you’re done cooking.

John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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