As Chicagoans, we are basically obligated to make the most of the good summer weather by spending as much time as possible outdoors and in good company. Frequently, that means grilling. Here’s a refresher course on some grilling safety basics for the summer season:

    1. Allow enough distance between your grill and the building structure. Usually that means at least 10 feet, but your building may have its own regulations on this.
    2. Never use a charcoal grill on anything other than your lawn or concrete patio. Wooden decks and rooftops constructed out of manmade materials are not a good match for coal fires.
    3. Never turn on the gas with the lid closed. It’s easy to forget the grill like this for a while, then light it and create an explosion.
    4. Never leave a grill unattended. Popping inside for a minute could easily turn into 10 minutes if you get held up, and that’s plenty of time for the unexpected to happen.
    5. Keep the alcohol reasonable. Operating a grill isn’t as complicated as driving a car, but it’s still a dangerous piece of equipment that should be treated with respect.
    6. Watch out for fatty meats. If you’re grilling fatty foods like burgers or sausages, keep an eye out for grease fires, which can quickly get out of control. Not overloading the grill with too much food helps to avoid this.
    7. Clean your grill regularly and check its condition. A grill can only be expected to function well and safely if it’s being properly maintained.
    8. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby. It’s a fire safety best-practice, and you should already have one in your kitchen anyway.

    For more tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

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