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Safety tips ahead of your Memorial Day barbecue
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Memorial Day weekend is a festive time at many households. By emphasizing backyard barbecue safety strategies, hosts can ensure everyone has a great time and gets home safe this Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer for millions of people across the country. Backyard barbecues are a staple of Memorial Day weekend, and such informal gatherings contribute much to the laid-back vibe of this beloved three-day weekend.

Backyard barbecues may be all about food and fun, but it’s important that hosts take measures to ensure such soirees are safe as well. By employing the following measures, hosts can ensure their Memorial Day barbecues are safe for all in attendance.

Place the grill in a safe location. The National Fire Protection Association urges hosts to place their grills a safe distance away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves or overhanging branches. The NFPA also notes no grill should be placed within 10 feet of any structure, including a home.

Check propane tanks for leaks prior to using the grill. Memorial Day may be the first time many people use their grill since the previous summer or fall. The NFPA recommends propane grill users check their tanks for leaks prior to using the grill for the first time. This inspection is simple. Apply a light solution of soap and water to the hose. The NFPA notes a propane leak will release bubbles. The smell test also can reveal a leak, as a strong odor of gas can indicate a leak. In such instances, close the tank valve and turn off the grill. If the leak stops, have the grill serviced by a professional. If the leak persists, call the fire department. The NFPA urges hosts who detect an odor of gas while cooking to get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department. Do not move the grill in such instances.

Man the grill at all times. An unattended grill poses a significant safety hazard. Whether you’re using a propane grill, a charcoal grill, a smoker, or a hybrid, make sure an adult is keeping an eye on the grill at all times.

Purchase long-handled cooking tools. The American Red Cross notes that long-handled cooking tools are designed to keep chefs safe. Such tools ensure cooks’ hands and arms do not have to be directly over flames, which can periodically flare up and pose a safety hazard.

Ensure children are supervised when swimming. The grill is not the only safety threat that may be present at Memorial Day barbecues. Hosts who will open their pools or provide inflatable pools for children should make sure kids are supervised when in or around the water at all times. Before allowing kids in a pool, hosts should confirm their swimming abilities and insist kids who cannot swim or only recently learned to swim wear inflatables or life jackets to reduce drowning risk.