With the Fourth of July right around the corner, many homeowners are gearing up for the holiday by firing up the grill to celebrate with family and friends. Whether you’re hosting an event or spending the day basking in the sun, the proper safety precautions should be taken when grilling or using fireworks to protect yourself and your home. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe.  

Grilling Safety

Did you know that fires caused by outdoor grills and barbecues in the US average about 8,700 per year according to the National Fire Protection Association? Outdoor grilling is a popular choice for many in the summer. However, it’s crucial to practice proper grilling safely to ensure a safe and enjoyable time! 

Keep your grill in a safe location:

The location of your grill is one of the most important safety precautions you can take. Always place your grill at least 10 feet away from your home on a flat, level surface. Avoid placing it under any overhangs, trees, tablecloths, and lawn decorations that could potentially catch on fire. 

Clean your grill regularly:

Make sure to clean your grill each time BEFORE using it. Grease and another build-up can cause flare-ups and add fuel to potential fires. Plus, adding new food to a dirty grill comes with its own problems itself!  

Don’t cross contaminate foods:

If you’re cooking with raw meats and cooked food work carefully to prevent cross-contamination. Designate a certain area of your grill for raw meat to separate from the rest of the food. Additionally, we recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the inside of your meat is at the right temperature.  

Check for gas leaks:

It’s common for your grill to require some maintenance overtime to ensure it is working properly. Place a little bit of soap and water on potential problem spots to check for any gas leaks to determine if it is time to fix or replace your grill.  

Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple of steps of your grill:

Always have a fire extinguisher close by if a fire does break out. Furthermore, make sure you know how to use it and that it is in working order.  

Don’t turn on the gas while the grill is closed:

It may not seem like a huge deal but turning the gas on without opening your grill can create a dangerous situation very quickly. Make sure your grill lid is open before lighting it to prevent large flames from erupting.  

Wear the right clothing:

According to First Alert, articles of clothing that have long sleeves or pieces that dangle can catch fire easily when too close to an open flame. When grilling food, wear the right clothing that will not interfere with the cooking process. If you have long hair, be sure to wear it up and out of the way.  

Don’t overload your grill:

Although it may be tempting to pile on a bunch of hamburgers and hotdogs when you are entertaining, overloading your grill can cause massive grease fires. Cook smaller portions at a time which will not only prevent fires but ensure your food does not get burned! 

Never leave a grill unattended:

Once you start your grill, never leave it unattended. Always keep children and pets at least three feet away from the area to prevent any accidental burns or injuries. 

Firework Safety

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. If consumer fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow these safety tips from Consumer Product Safety Commission: 

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. 
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper, this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers. 
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. 
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. 
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person. 
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or another mishap. 
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly. 
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers. 
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire. 
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. 

Tip: Instead of using sparkles consider using a safer alternative, such as a glow stick, confetti popper, or colored streams.  

Direct Mortgage Loans hopes you have a safe and fantastic, Fourth of July with your family and friends. If you plan to host your own celebration, check out our blog Simple Tips to Make Your Home Shine this Summer to get your backyard in tip-top shape. If you’re considering purchasing a home with a backyard, contact a Loan Officer today!