Grilling safety tips

friends hanging out by a grill with food

With warmer weather here and Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, you may be planning on firing up your grill for the first time in a while. But in order to make sure that your outdoor cooking doesn’t land you in a doctor’s office, here’s a refresher on some important grilling safety tips.

Give it space – Keep your grill away from vinyl or wood siding, trees or shrubs as well as overhangs that can trap heat, melt or catch fire. A good rule of thumb is to keep the grill 8 feet from structures.

Keep it clean – Many grill fires are caused by grease on dirty grill grates. So clean it up and wipe it down frequently, and if you’re using charcoal, remove the old ashes.

Address leaks – Periodically check to make sure your gas lines and shut-off valves are working properly. To check, open lines and spray the outside of the lines and connections with soapy water. If bubbles form quickly, you have a problem.

Ready to fight a fire? – Make sure you’re prepared to fight a grill fire by keeping a fire extinguisher handy. A spray bottle of water won’t be much help for a grease fire or gas line rupture.

Lift to light – Make sure you lift the lid before lighting a propane grill. And stand back before lighting charcoal if you’ve used lighter fluid.

Always outside – Unless your kitchen is set up for an indoor grill, keep the grilling outside. Besides the fire danger and smoke, carbon monoxide can build quickly and be very dangerous.

Handle it well – A leading cause of doctor visits from grilling has to do with safe food handling. Always keep it clean when it comes to raw, uncooked foods that may be contaminated with bacteria. Never cross-contaminate, and wash hands frequently. Prep meat on its own tray, and keep vegetables and side dishes separate. Never re-use marinade that’s touched raw meat. After cooking, use a clean tray to remove cooked food, and use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked through.

Don’t overload – Another danger is overloading your grill. An inexpensive grill may not be able to handle large amounts of food, resulting in bent grates or food being pushed onto burners or charcoal. Also, putting too much food onto a grill could mean your food is overdone, cross contaminated or underdone (see above).

Be present – Don’t leave a lit grill unattended. Make sure you turn off a propane grill, and use the metal cover of a charcoal grill to smother the fire. Keep pets and children away from the grill while it’s still hot.

Grilling is all about getting out and enjoying the nice weather while preparing your meal. By being prepared and following a few simple tips, it can be a safe warm weather hobby.

WBTL-0750 (5-20)

© 2023 Horace Mann Educators Corporation

CUSTOMER SERVICE Call 800-999-1030

  • Auto and Property
    M – F, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. Central time.
  • Life, Annuity and Group
    M – F, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Central time.