We all love a good grill-out, but do we ever really consider the dangers of grilling within a housing cooperative community? No need to worry, we've compiled a list of safety tips on how to enjoy your summer barbecue while staying safe.
1. DO NOT GRILL ON PORCHES!
A great tip not just for Cedarwood Cooperative, but for any homeowner or renter. Grilling on a porch can be disastrous if a spark hits the building, railings or stored personal items. Specifically at our co-op, the railings can be easily damaged due to their delicate material. Help us keep our homes looking their very best AND stay safe this summer by never, never, never grilling on the porches.
2. KEEP GRILLS AWAY FROM BUILDINGS.
This safety warning goes hand-in-hand with the above mentioned tip. Keep grills a minimum of 10 feet away from buildings. There are far too many dangers associated with grilling close to a building including fire damage, damage to utility equipment and damage to your personal property. As a safe rule of thumb, keep grills 10 feet or more away from any buildings.
3. WATCH OUT FOR BRANCHES.
There you are setting up your grill, safely 10 feet away from the building and off the porch. You drop in the charcoal, light a match and that fire gets roaring. You walk away to grab your food to grill and when you come back, you notice the tree limb above has caught on fire! Not a good scenario! Before you move your grill to your next grilling location, take a look above your head. Are there are overhanging branches that could become a problem? If so, relocate your grill and then get started.
4. KEEP GRILLS CLEAN.
Always remove old grease and old charcoal from your grill before starting to cook. Leftover grease can catch fire, not to mention taint the flavor of your barbecue masterpiece! As a standard precaution, use a wire brush to clean off the grates and dump out old charcoal before firing up the grill.
5. MAKE SURE THOSE COALS ARE COLD BEFORE DUMPING!
This one is self-explanatory but often overlooked. There is no need to rush to clean your grill, as mentioned above, so wait until those coals are completely cold before disposing of them properly. You would not want to be the cause of a garbage can fire because you rushed to dump them out...now would you?!
6. NEVER USE GASOLINE!
It goes without saying that gasoline is a bad choice for lighting any kind of fire, but especially a grill fire. Only use charcoal lighter fluid to start your grill, never gasoline. Using gasoline could create a serious "BOOM" you and your neighbor were not expecting. Take fire safety serious and NEVER use gasoline to start your grill. You wouldn't want to have to call the fire department now would you?
7. DO NOT LEAVE THE GRILL UNATTENDED.
We know how it goes...you safely moved the grill 10 feet away from the building, off the porch, away from overhanging tree limbs, started it with the proper fluid and now you're ready to cook. Oops...you left all the food inside along with your cooking utensils. You just have to run inside to grab everything quick and you'll be right back out. BAD IDEA! Be sure to bring everything you need outside BEFORE you begin your fire. Another option is to invite some friends over to enjoy your grilling grub and ask one of them to stay near the grill while you step away. However you do it, make sure your grill is attended at all times. You would not want to held responsible for a child walking by and getting hurt or a spark igniting a fire nearby. Avoid the possibility altogether and be prepared before you even start.
8. TOSS OUT YOUR OLD GRILL.
Grills with rust patches, holes or broken legs are a danger to use, not to mention an eye-sore for your neighbors and management. While living here at Cedarwood, we strongly recommend trashing grills that look like trash (pardon the boldness). Rust, holes and broken parts can release unwanted burning charcoal to the ground which is a safety hazard. They are also unsightly and unstable. Has your grill taken a turn for the worst? Time to buy a new one! ...money saving tip...wait until barbecue season is over to buy a new grill. Barbecue grills are greatly reduced around August/September as companies prepare to put away summer stock items. Take advantage of these discounts and get your next grill in the fall.
9. DO NOT GRILL IN COMMON AREAS.
This tip is primarily for our Cedarwood Housing Cooperative members but is a good tip for anyone renting in the Park Forest Illinois area. Do not grill in the common areas which includes the sidewalks, parking lots, streets and open lawn areas. Keep all grilling materials in your private co-op area and all will be well with neighbors and management.
There you have it members and newcomers! All the grilling safety tips you can shake a stick at. Follow the above precautions and be well on your way to barbecue mastery! Now, who's up for some steaks on the grill? My co-op or yours? :)