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6/14/2013 - Three important precautions dads should remember before grilling


Keeping grills several yards from your home is ideal when barbecuing.

Millions of dads around the country will spend Father's Day with their feet up and relaxed, as the day devoted to dad is a great time to give the head of the household some time off from their labors. But when it comes to grilling the perfect steak, chicken or hamburger, no one does it quite like the patriarch of the family.

But as skilled as dad may be with the hibachi, everyone could use a refresher course now and then on how to make sure everyone remains safe when food is being cooked in the great outdoors. With this in mind, the National Fire Protection Association offers some recommendations.

1. Keep grill several yards away from house. For instance, with many years of experience, dads may feel like it's fine to use the grill right next to their residence, confident that they'll be able to cook without incident. But no matter how skilled someone may be, it's always important to ensure that the grill is well away from any standing structure. In addition, nothing should be above the grill, such as overhanging tree branches or eaves from the roof, as these can both serve as a potential fire hazard.

2. Clean grill trays of food buildup. With Father's Day being one of the first grilling events of the season, it's a good idea to ensure that it's nice and clean before getting started. NFPA says that the best way to clean is by removing grease or fat that's built up on the trays below. Hardware and home improvement stores may have special cleaning kits to help remove what's accumulated.

3. Check for possible propane leaks. Traditionally, grills are either propane or charcoal. While each have their strengths and weaknesses, propane grills can be particularly risky to use if they're not properly maintained. That's because they use gas as fuel for cooking and if there are any leaks that have formed in the hoses, they could lead to an accident. Thus, before starting the grill, NFPA says it's smart to apply some light soap and water to the hose that connects to the propane tank. If bubbles form as a result, that suggests that there may be a leak. It ought to be serviced by a professional before using it.

One may be surprised by how common grilling fires are that relate to gas leaks, occasionally resulting in homeowners insurance claims. According to NFPA statistics, approximately 83% of all grills involved in a home fire were fueled by gas. The remaining percentage was the result of charcoal or some other solid fuel.


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