Good weather brings good eats
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Spring is here and summer is just around the corner, which means the time is upon us to enjoy juicy burgers and sizzling steak.
The 374th Airlift Wing safety office would like to remind the residents of Yokota to follow simple guidelines when utilizing grills this season.
"Grilling is a great way to cook food, especially at get-togethers, but it is important to do it safely," said Tech. Sgt. Laury Napoleoni, 374 AW safety office ground safety NCO in charge.
According to the National Fire Protection Association website, 33 percent of home grill structure fires start on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. As such, grills should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. For residents in the tower and garden units, this can prove to be difficult, so the safety office suggests ensuring grills are away from the door and out of the wind and to keep items that could possibly catch fire away from the grill.
"One thing people forget about is keeping the grill clean of grease and fats," said Napoleoni. "Buildup can cause fires and can potentially make you sick."
In addition to cleaning build-up, hoses on propane grills should be checked for any leaks. This can be done by applying a soap and water solution to the hose and looking for bubbles. If the hose has a leak, replace it before using the grill.
Once the grill has been safely placed and inspected, it is ready to use. Be sure to keep children and pets away from the grill area as they can easily knock over the grill or hurt themselves on the hot metal exterior.
For charcoal users, briquettes should be stacked in a pyramid to light more quickly; once the charcoal is covered in gray ash or glowing red, it should be spread out in a single layer for cooking using metal tongs or spatulas. Once briquettes are lit, lighter fluid should not be added. Gasoline, alcohol or other highly volatile fluids should never be used when grilling. After grilling, coals should be extinguished completely before they are disposed in a metal container.
"People tend to forget that grilling can be dangerous and cause serious injuries, especially when people just want to eat delicious grilled foods," said Napoleoni. "Think of how long it has been since you grilled and take safety precautions so that grilling does not become a pain."
For more information on grilling safety, visit http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/grilling, or contact the 374 AW safety office at 225-7233.