Heating it Up: Summer Food Safety for Your Family
Gas Grills and Safety
To reduce CO poisoning, the CPSC offers the following safety tips:
- Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers.
- Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.
- Since charcoal produces CO until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store a grill indoors with freshly used coals.
Gas grills are fueled by liquid petroleum (LP) gas or propane, which is extremely flammable. The CPSC states that more than 500 fires occur annually when people use gas grills, and about 20 people a year are injured by gas grill fires and explosions. The greatest risk of fire or explosion occurs when using a grill that’s been idle for a while or just after refilling and reattaching the grill’s gas container.
To reduce risks when using a gas grill, the CPSC recommends the following precautions:
- Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from bugs, food, or grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.
- Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. The hose or tubing should not have any sharp bends.
- Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can’t move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.
- Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.
- If you detect a gas leak, immediately turn off the gas at the tank and don’t try to light the grill until the leak is repaired. Keep lighted matches, cigarettes, or open flames away from a leaking grill.
- Never use a grill indoors or within 10 feet of a building. Do not use the grill in a garage, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Keep the top open when lighting the grill. If the grill does not light in first several tries, wait five minutes to allow gas to dissipate.
- Never attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
- Always store LP gas containers upright and away from the grill. Never store a full container indoors. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
- Transport LP gas containers in a secure, upright position. Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat causes gas pressure to increase, which opens the relief valve and allows gas to escape.
Following these simple guidelines about food safety will minimize your family’s risk of food poisoning and keep everyone healthier to enjoy your picnics, cookouts, and camping trips.
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