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Stay safe this summer when firing up the grill

BBQ Tool Fire Flames Grill Spatula Fork, XXXLWhen: July

What: When summer rolls around, it’s common for people to spend time outdoors, basking in the warmth and sunlight. One activity that brings families and friends to the backyard is grilling. But although cooking and dining outside can be a welcome treat after the cold months of winter, safety measurements and precautions need to be taken into consideration. This July, increase your awareness and knowledge about outdoor cooking during National Grilling Month.

Background: According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association, 81 percent of Americans claim that some elements of cooking outside are easier than cooking inside. But regardless of where you cook, there are still safety measures you should take to protect everyone. The U. S. Department of Agriculture offers safe grilling tips, including how to store food correctly, smoke food properly, and avoid cross-contamination.

Story Pitch: Many groups and organizations can pitch around National Grilling Month. Local fire departments should note the importance of fire safety, noting that home fires and injuries increase dramatically during the summer months, when grilling is more frequent. They can offer tips on how to grill safely to avoid fire and injury. Local parks may also promote the month by encouraging all visitors to familiarize themselves with proper safety procedures regarding grilling and cooking outdoors. Nutritionists and dietitians will want to comment on food safety — grilling safely and avoiding injury are key, but cooking meats to the proper temperature to avoid sickness is equally important. Meanwhile, retailers of grills and barbequing tools and equipment can advertise around this event.

Story Hook: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year, grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss. What are the best ways to grill safely, from lighting the grill to eating the food cooked on it? Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • What is the best internal temperature for grilled meats? Chicken? Beef?
  • What safety precautions should be taken when using a charcoal grill as compared to a gas or propane grill?
  • What rules should be followed when grilling outdoors in parks?
  • What is a safe distance from the house to use a grill?

Tips: A park ranger who often deals with grilling and cooking in the park would be able to give information about the proper rules and regulations for outdoor grilling. In addition, a chef can discuss internal meat temperatures and food safety.

Resources:

Center for Food Safety
(202) 547-9359
office(at)centerforfoodsafety.org
www.centerforfoodsafety.org

National Fire Protection Association
(617) 770-3000
publicaffairs(at)nfpa.org
www.nfpa.org

U.S. Department of Agriculture
(202) 720-27941
www.usda.gov

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(888) 463-6332
www.fda.gov

–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
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