As Americans gear up to host barbecues once again this summer, many aren’t doing enough to reduce grilling-related hazards and injuries. Here are some grilling safety tips to share with clients.
It's the summer of barbecues as more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the end of the pandemic in the U.S. approaches. But as 71% of Americans are planning to attend or host a barbecue this summer, many aren't doing enough to reduce grilling-related hazards and injuries, according to a survey from ValuePenguin.com.
With 80% of Americans either owning a grill or using a community grill, 13% of those who have access to a grill have reportedly experienced a grilling-related accident. Generation Z (ages 18-24) are the most likely to have experienced such an accident at 19%, and men are 55% more likely than women to have experienced one.
A searing 37% of grillers say they have fired up the barbecue while drunk, the study found. Those who do so are 4 times as likely to have been in a grilling-related accident. Millennials (ages 25 to 40) and Generation X (ages 41 to 55) grillers are the most likely to grill while drunk.
With 10,000 grilling-related injuries reported every year, alcohol isn't the only risk involved. Two in 3 grillers don't use a meat thermometer to verify that their meat is safe to eat or serve, and 6 in 10 don't cut the meat open to verify if it's cooked sufficiently.
Americans also aren't keeping their grills clean—especially those who share it with others. Forty-four percent of Americans who use their own grill admit to not cleaning it after every use, compared to 59% of those who use a shared community grill.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 22% of Americans believe they've contracted food poisoning at a barbecue. Nearly 1 in 3 millennials and more than 1 in 4 Gen Zers recall getting sick from a barbecue, making them the most susceptible age groups.
Keep your clients happy and safe by sharing these 12 grilling safety tips:
- Thoroughly clean your gas grill at the beginning of the season.
- Replace and maintain a fire extinguisher near, but not on, the grill at all times.
- Never throw a match in a grill especially after the gas has been on for three seconds.
- Never wear a loose apron or loose clothing while grilling. Always wear shoes.
- Always use the grill's starter button. If the starter is broken, do not use the grill.
- Cover the grill to avoid corrosion and rusting in both the controls and gas line. Rust can make grill controls hard to read and make the starter button difficult to depress. Seniors may want to consider a grill with an automatic starter, rather than button starter that can become difficult to push.
- Don't overload your grill with food. This applies especially fatty meats.
- Always thoroughly cook food to a safe temperature. Check by testing the temperature with a thermometer
- Never throw away grill instructions or owner's manual. Follow manufacturer's directions carefully.
- People sometimes think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. This is not true.
- Keep the grill at least 10 feet away from structures, such as carports, garages and porches. Farther is even better.
- Never leave a grill unattended. Plan ahead so that all other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling.
AnneMarie McPherson is IA news editor.