While Omaha is engulfed in the celebration that is the CWS, there is another event today – the Summer Solstice: the longest day of the year and the official start of summer! The summer temps are greeting us as well and I’m always a bit surprised to hear how many people “prefer the heat.”

Along with summer comes grilling season. Burgers and brats, steaks, kabobs, corn, potatoes, whatever your choice, all are a welcome sight on the grill. But fire anywhere else can make your summer grilling memorable for the wrong reasons. Listed below are some safety tips to observe when you light up the grill.

  • Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors.
  • Place the grill away from your home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Don’t allow children and pets around the grill area.
  • Clean your grill by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Stay around and enjoy it, never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grills

  • There are many ways to minimize the use of more flammable starter fluids, including charcoal chimney starters that allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If using starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep starter fluid in a secure cabinet, out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • When you are done grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.

Propane grills

  • Perform annual checks – check the tank hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose. A leak will release bubbles.
  • Ensure the chuck is in good condition – check for corrosion or any wear, rips or tears in rubber grommets.
  • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell excessive propane smell while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.

Enjoy the summer and the grilling season, Omaha! Make it even better by ensuring your grilling is only memorable for the food.