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Summer Safety Challenge: Barbeque Safety

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Editor’s note: This article was submitted by a member of the 48th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron for this year’s Summer Safety Challenge at RAF Lakenheath.

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, it means barbeque season is here! And as with other summer activities, you should always keep safety in mind.

Every year more than 7,000 Americans are injured using backyard barbeques. It’s also no surprise that most of those injuries happen around the Independence Day holiday break. Whether or not you’re out to perfect your Memphis dry rub, your Kansas City sauces, or your Texas Brisket slow cook, odds are you’re going to be around a barbeque over the holidays. The following are a few “best practices” to keep cookouts fun and safe.

First and foremost, always have a source of water available for emergencies. Unlike kitchen oil flare ups, dumping a five gallon bucket of water on a grill isn’t going to give you a giant flash fireball. As a less dramatic measure, have a spray bottle handy for those minor flare ups. (Life hack: water won’t ruin your meat.)

Second, keep your grill at least 10 feet away from any structure or hanging objects, such as plants, decorations and tree limbs. Some people choose to utilize carports for additional shade while they work their grill magic. However, this is not recommended as the heat can build up and scorch or damage the carport.

Third, if using a gas grill, never ignite it with the lid closed. Before lighting, check for gas leaks at all junctions and hoses. If using charcoal, don’t handle coals after grilling until they are cold. Even if you’re done cooking your food the grill can still be extremely hot and could result in burns or cause a fire.

Finally, never leave your grill unattended. This is the single most preventable hazard associated with barbeques. From preheating until after the grilling is done, ensure an adult in close proximity is monitoring the grill. When cleaning up, ensure all charcoal is cold or the gas grill itself has cooled down before you begin to put everything away.

Keeping these tips in mind should help you stay safe for many summer cookouts to come!