Seven things to do before and after you fire up the grill

Sure, those mouth-watering burgers are the main event, but how much thought do you give to your grill before and after the sizzle? Save these tips from the National Fire Protection Association and Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Before you grill:

  1. Inspect the grill. For gas models, clean the hose and connections with soapy water and turn on the gas. If you see bubbles – indicating a leak – turn it off immediately. Clean burners to get rid of insects or dirt that accumulated during storage. Check for wobbly wheels or legs that could make the grill unstable.
  2. Grill outdoors only, well away from your home and out from under covered porches or overhanging branches. Proper ventilation prevents carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. Store spare propane containers upright and outdoors.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher and baking soda handy in case of a grease fire.
  5. Make a no-kid, no-pet zone rule. While the grill is hot, they need to play elsewhere.

After you grill:

  1. Don’t move a still-hot grill. Grills hold their heat for about an hour.
  2. Let charcoal cool completely. An ashy appearance isn’t enough – coals can still be hot inside. Dispose of used briquettes in a covered metal container that’s kept outside – never in the garage or on a wooden deck.