Summer Grilling Safety

By Derek Kinkade   - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  If you have plans to fire up the grill this Memorial Day, there are some things you need to know, especially if you haven't used your grill in awhile.

Today we talked to Chad Hicks, a Department Manager at Lowes.

For a charcoal grill, he says, "First thing you need to do it clean it.  Get rid of all the rust; get rid of as much of it as you can."

When lighting the coals it's a good idea to use an electric starter.  That way your hands can stay out of the flames.  But the biggest issue, according to Hicks:

"Leaving it unattended.  The main thing with charcoal, because even after you're finished grilling, the coals are still going to be hot."

Charcoal does have its advantages over a gas grill when it comes to maintenance.  Hicks explained, "You don't have to worry about connections, you don't have to worry about a propane tank, there's a lot less things you have to worry about."

Now there are those that would argue that a charcoal grill is the only way to go, but what about those of us who have gas grills? They can have many hidden dangers, most of them stemming from the gas tank, its fuel source.

Connections and hoses are the first things you should inspect on your gas grill after a long hiatus from grilling.

"They'll deteriorate.  Weather will get to them and they'll dry rot," says Hicks.

In order too remedy this, getting a tarp or cover to go over the grill will help keep the weather out.  A cover is also good because spiders and other insects can make their homes in your grill in the 'off season'.  If you own a gas grill, it's important to make sure the bugs or their nests aren't obstructing the flow of gas to the burners.

And no matter what kind of grill you own, a fire extinguisher is a must have when you take the cooking out of the kitchen.