Grill BlogJuly is National Grilling Safety month and whether you are deemed the “Barbeque Master” on your block or not, safety still matters! Most all safety tips really are just common sense, but with the regularity in which we barbeque each summer comes a comfort level that sometimes allows for us to overlook one or more safety items that can put  you, your loved ones, or property at risk.  Knowing what risks you are taking each time you fire up your grill puts you one step ahead of the fire and the potential damage that can come from simply doing something you do quite often.  Here are just a few things to keep in mind when grilling this season or any other season for that matter.

1.       Respect the Fire

I don’t think I need to tell you that fire is a destructive force that can quickly turn into a nightmare if taken for granted.  There are thousands of fires each year that evolve from grilling, causing injury, death and millions of dollars in property damage.  Knowing your flame and how to control it is number one.  Designate one person to watch the fire that is aware of how to cut fuel supplies, extinguish fires, and call the Fire Department. This person should also be familiar with how to treat burns.

2.       Food Safety

Although it’s probably the most obvious risk, fire is not the only one when grilling.  Food safety is key to being able to enjoy the outdoors when on vacation, at a party, or even just a quiet family dinner.  Bacteria can eat and exist on every kind of food that you possibly imagine.  It can grow and multiply at any temperature and if you aren’t careful, can prove to be one of the worst experiences of your life (no joke).  If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you may agree that it may just be the worst type of “sick” you’ve ever been.  Keep in mind when you are done serving up yourself and your guests, everything gets put into the fridge.  A few rules of thumb: Wash your Hands, Cover it Up, Keep it Cool, Get it Hot!, and simply put…Use your Head.   Bacteria can grow on anything that is above freezing and can stay alive until the temperature hit’s 165 degrees F.

3.       Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)…aka Smoke

Acenaphthene, acenaphthylene, and fluoranthene…wait what????  These are just 3 of the 18 of the Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) that can take flight when grease begins to burn.  Just like second hand cigarette smoke can give you cancer, so can smoke from grilling.  Although, the smell of a grill can be nostalgic and somewhat enjoyable when cooking up your hamburgers and hotdogs, be sure to keep your distance.  The younger you are, the worse effect it can have on you.

4.       Gas Safety

Do you know what the some of the number one causes of a gas fire is?

a. Gas leak

b. Bugs

c. Organic Materials

d. All of the Above

If you chose “d”, congratulations!  You are one step closer to knowing your grilling safety and keeping yourself, loved ones and your property out of harm’s way.  Any of the items listed above can ignite a gas fire when you start up your grill because they are “hidden” behind, underneath, or inside your grill where you don’t often look.  Check out your grill from all angles before firing it up. Look for anything that could be flammable near or around your grill and remove it accordingly.  In addition to being gross and annoying, bugs can cause all kinds of damage in regards to your grill that may result in a gas flowing where it shouldn’t.  Check for leaks and other possible breakages that can result in a fire.

5.       Drink Responsibly

Most of us like to cool it down with a tasty alcoholic beverage when grilling, but much like driving, alcohol and grilling do not go hand in hand.  Grilling requires clear a mind.  Be sober, be alert, and above all be responsible when grilling!

For more safety tips on grilling, please visit http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/cooking.shtm.  Be calm and grill on my friends!

Keeping your Holidays Happy – 5 Holiday Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again! The holidays are here and between all of the “hustle and bustle” we can sometimes forget the little things which can potentially turn into something much bigger. Here are a few tips on keeping you and your loved ones safe and happy for the upcoming New Year.

1. Be cautious with candles.

Which are the top days for candle fires? You got it! It’s Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day and Halloween too!

More than one-quarter of candle fires occur because they were too close to something that was flammable, such as curtains or gifts. This can be prevented by simply moving your lit candle at least a foot away from any other potentially flammable objects.

You should never leave a candle unattended. Whether you leave your home or go to bed, be sure to blow out all of your candles.

LED “candles” are the new craze. They are battery-powered and flicker, creating a flame-like appearance.

2. Set a timer when you cook.

With all of the holiday meal preparations, it’s easy to get side tracked. To avoid a fire started by unattended food, be sure to use a timer. If you have multiple dishes cooking, try more than one timer. Label the timer with a sticky note so when it goes off, you know which dish needs your attention.

3. Properly dispose of live trees.

I think most everyone knows just how quickly an evergreen tree can burn. Never try to dispose of your tree or wreath by tossing it into your fireplace. Not only are they hazardous because the burn so fast, but burning evergreens can also mean creosote buildup which is another fire hazard in itself.

Visit http://www.mesaaz.gov/waste/Christmas_Tree_Recycling.aspx to find out more about the Christmas Tree Recycling Program in the City of Mesa.

4. Mask high-priced gift boxes.

There is no better way to announce your new flat-screen TV or LED Laptop to an unsuspecting burglar than leaving out the trash. Instead of leaving the box intact, break it down for recycling, turn it inside out or simply tear it into pieces small enough to fit inside a garbage bag.

5. Designate a driver.

Celebrate holiday parties with peace of mind! Always have a plan that will end with your safe arrival home. Visit http://www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=Mesa-AZ to find a list of local taxi companies. You can estimate your fare too!

From my family to yours, happy holidays! Please enjoy and be safe!

Are you prepared in the event of an emergency? (image via flickr)

Today’s newspapers and internet sites seem to highlight some new catastrophe almost every day.  Whether it is a drought in the U.S., flooding caused by a typhoon in the Philippines, or an earthquake that destroys most of an island nation, emergency situations are all around us.  Now, more than ever, families need to take steps to be ready in case one of these catastrophic events comes to call.

September is National Preparedness Month and organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross will be working with communities and families to raise awareness about the need for emergency preparedness and to offer advice and information on what kind of preparations need to be made.  The primary goal of National Preparedness Month is to get people to understand the importance of preparing before disaster strikes.  To help increase awareness, here are 4 things every household should do in order to be ready and be able to respond.

1.     Fire Evacuation Plan

In 2010, statistics show there were more than 360,000 house fires in the U.S.  and 2,640 people lost their lives as a result.   Unlike some other natural disasters that only impact certain areas, house fires can happen to anyone.  Make sure your family has a fire evacuation plan that includes at least two ways out of every room.

2.     Emergency Contact Information

One of the scariest things family members encounter when there is a crisis is not being able to find loved ones.  Establishing an emergency communication plan that includes meeting places, important contact numbers, and how to use an out of town relay to locate and communicate with each other is your best defense.

3.     Evacuation Plan

If the time ever comes that it is no longer safe to remain in your home, you won’t likely have time to formulate the best evacuation plan either.  In order to be ready if that order ever comes, you need to know where the closest shelter is in your town as well as where emergency shelters can be found in neighboring towns or cities.  You need to have an emergency kit that contains everything your family will need for 72 hours already packed and ready to go with you in the car.

4.     Sheltering in Place

Just like there are times when you must leave your home, there are times when leaving is the last thing you want to do.  Every family should have a plan for remaining in their home for several weeks without access to outside resources like the grocery store or essential services like electricity.   By stocking enough food, water, medicine, and other critical supplies ahead of time, you can feel confident that if there is a reason not to go out, you won’t have to just to survive.

You don’t need to stockpile several years of food, learn to spin your own wool thread, or spend thousands of dollars on tools and equipment it is unlikely you will ever use in order to be prepared.  It only takes a little time, a little effort, and a trip or two to the grocery store to make sure your family is ready to weather whatever storms come your way.

 

Related Articles:

 

As summer vacation fades in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a quick look at some ways to make sure all children are as safe as possible as we head into the new school year.  According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, more than 2 million children under the age of 14 are injured each year while at school.  Here are 6 tips for helping keep kids safe as school goes back into session.

1.     Make them a Map

Determine which specific routes to and from school and after school activities are acceptable for your child to use and then walk those routes with them.  This is important whether they are walking, riding a bike, riding a scooter, or travelling by any other means.  Mapping out acceptable routes ahead of time helps keep your child safe in several ways.  First, they won’t be taking short cuts that require crossing busier roads or expose them to unnecessary dangers.  Second, you will always know where to look for them if they are running late or do not arrive somewhere as expected.  Mapping out more than one route ensures they have a back-up in case there is an emergency or detour.

2.     Watch for Walkers

When school is in session, there are more children walking on sidewalks and crossing streets.  Drivers need to be aware of where schools are located on their normal commutes and pay attention to school zone signs and speed limit changes.  Pay extra attention whenever there are children walking, running, playing, or waiting to cross.

3.     Remind Kids about the Rules

For the first few weeks of school, parents need to remind their children about important safety rules.  Talking about important safety topics like looking both ways before going into the street, using crosswalks, paying attention to what’s happening around them, and avoiding strangers will help make it a safe school year.

4.     Practice Prevention

With children, many of the most common serious injuries are also the most preventable.  Make sure that children who ride their bikes to school are wearing a helmet.  If your child is going to ride a scooter or skateboard back and forth each day, provide the appropriate safety gear to protect heads, wrists, and knees and instill the importance of wearing it every time.

5.     Create a Contact List

It is important that any school age child knows basic contact information like their home phone, parent cell phone, and home address.  It is also a good idea to create an emergency contact list for them that can be kept in their backpack.  This may include additional phone numbers of grandparents, babysitters, or friend’s houses.  Additionally, make sure your child knows when and how to call 911 if there is an emergency.

6.     Promote Safe Play

Children are injured everyday just by being children.  Running, jumping, and playing often leads to scrapes, bruises, and bumps.  While this is a normal part of being a kid, parents can help protect their children from serious injuries and limit the number of minor ones by promoting safe play practices.  Check out the school’s playground and talk to the school administration about any safety concerns you see.  If the playground isn’t up to par, raise money to build a new one.  Talk to your child about how to play as safely as possible and what kinds of behavior can cause injury.

 

Related Articles:

 

Article provided by The Hartford

Are you prepared if you get stranded in your car? Image via MJIphotos on Flickr.

Having an emergency preparedness kit in your car is sort of like having good insurance. You hope you’ll never need it—but boy are you glad it’s there on road trips if you have an accident or need to help others.

If you become stranded, it can be critical to have the right supplies to speed up being rescued, say driver-safety experts. This is especially true in winter weather, when having the right supplies could also mean your survival.

It’s easy to be prepared for road trips. Emergency kits with most of these essentials cost $30 to $100 at stores that sell auto accessories. But you can also assemble your own emergency preparedness kit. To be ready for any roadside emergency, here’s what you should include.

In the Trunk

Use a sturdy canvas bag with handles or a plastic bin to store your emergency preparedness kit, and secure it so it doesn’t roll or bounce around when the car is moving. Include the following:

  •  Flashlight and extra batteries
  •  Cloth or roll of paper towels
  •  Jumper cables
  •  Blankets
  •  Flares or warning triangles
  •  Drinking water
  •  Nonperishable snacks, such as energy or granola bars
  •  Extra clothes
  •  First-aid kit
  • Basic tool kit that includes, at minimum, flat-head and Phillips screwdrivers, pliers, and adjustable wrench

Winter Add-ons

Inventory your items in the winter and spring, and include these six items before the winter months:

  • Window washer solvent
  • Ice scraper
  • Bag of sand, salt, or cat litter, or traction mats
  • Snow shovel
  • Snow brush
  • Gloves, hats, and additional blanket
  • Glove Compartment

Not all emergency equipment should be behind the backseat or in the trunk. Here are three essential items to stow within the driver’s reach:

  • Mobile phone
  • Phone charger
  • Auto-safety hammer (some have an emergency beacon and belt-cutting tool, too)