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Kabob skewers on the grill

Summer is the perfect season to fire up the grill and enjoy quality time with family and friends. It’s also important to be mindful of safe grilling practices.

Two-thirds of all Massachusetts grill fires occur between May and September, when residents and visitors are most likely to cook outdoors. Before indulging in barbecue and other home-cooked foods, take a few minutes to consider these safe grilling tips:

  • Before using your grill for the first time each year, check the gas tank hose for leaks by pouring a light soap and water solution through it.  A propane leak will release bubbles.
  • Grills should never be used indoors. Both gas and charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide, which can poison you in a closed space.
  • Gas grills must not be used on upstairs balconies of a home or building unless there is an exterior stairway exit to the ground, such as a fire escape.
  • Grills should be placed at least 10 feet away from a residenceas well as away from deck railings and overhanging roof leaves and branches.
  • Keep children, pets, and anyone not involved in cooking at least three feet away from a grill area.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended. Food can burn or grease can build up and catch fire quickly.
  • Keep your grill clean to prevent uneven flame and blockage by removing grease or fat build-up from the grills and trays.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately move away from the grill and call the fire department.  Do not touch the grill.
  • If the flame goes out while cooking, turn both the grill and gas off and wait 15 minutes before relighting.
  • Never use gasoline on any grill.  Fires caused by gasoline are major sources of burns in the United States.
  • If you are burned while grilling, remove clothing and accessories from the burn site, run cold water over the injury to cool the skin, and call 911.

Barbecuing is a great way to enjoy fresh, healthy foods all summer long. Spend a few extra minutes before grilling to take the necessary precautions to keep your friends and family safe throughout the season, and enjoy the warm weather!

What are your safe grilling and cooking tips for the summer season? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us at @MassGov.

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