NEW YORK (ABC NEWS) – As families start firing up the grill, and opening swimming pools to celebrate the unofficial kickoff of summer, they should also be aware of the season’s dangers.
More than 75 percent of households own a grill — but that doesn’t mean everyone knows how to use them properly. Each year, grills cause 6,000 accidental fires or explosions, and hospitals see 20,000 emergency room visits related to grilling. Barbecuing also leads to $29 million in property damage annually.
Good Morning America’s Home Improvement Editor Ron Hazelton has tips on how to keep your family safe around the grill and in the pool this summer.
Tips For Charcoal Grills
Only use charcoal lighter fluid, never gasoline. Using gasoline can cause an explosion or a huge flareback.
Do not re-apply the lighter fluid once you’ve lit the fire, even if it doesn’t seem to be lighting fast enough.
Never use a charcoal grill indoors, or in a tent or an RV, because they produce a lot of dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
Always use long insulated mitts when cooking with a grill, because you can get a momentary flare-up w/charcoal very easily. Cooking mitts that are sold as barbecue mitts are fire-retardant. Also, use long-handled barbecue tongs and utensils for safe handling of coals and food. Coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees F.
Keep children well away from charcoal grills. Children are attracted by the sound, smell, sight of food, so they can walk up and try to pull themselves up on the side. The grill can subsequently tip and spill hot coals on them.
Tips for Gas Grills
Memorial Day may be the first time you are using the gas grill. If it’s been sitting in the garage all winter, do an inspection first. Insects, especially spiders, like to live in the tubes of a gas grill and are attracted to the smell of it. Examine tubes to make sure they’re not blocked by bugs, or grease.
Complete a visual inspection of gas lines. Just check visually because they can crack or break.
Another test just to make sure is the soapy water test. Put a little dishwashing detergent in a spray bottle, spray it on all the fittings and hoses. Turn the gas on so the grill is pressurized, and if there’s a leak you’ll see bubbles.
Be sure to open the lid before lighting the gas. Open the lid, turn the gas on and then light the grill.
When you are finished grilling, be sure to turn the gas off at the tank.
Never store a propane tank indoors.
Pool Safety Tips
Each year, 350 children drown in swimming pools. Half of the deaths occur in June, July and August, when people are swimming the most, and in many areas, drowning is the leading cause of child deaths during the summer.
Have a cordless phone, emergency numbers and rescue equipment near the pool.
Be careful with buckets, as there are 50 drownings a year in buckets. If you look at a 5-gallon bucket, you will see that it is a drowning hazard for a child. Children are top heavy, so if they fall in, they don’t have the strength to pull themselves back out.
Kids can drown in even less water, as little as an inch, if they end up face down.So if you’ve got inflatable pools around always empty them out and turn them upside down, because even an empty pool can collect water if it rains.