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Monday, April 1, 2013

RVers grilling safety tips

Spring is in the air, and thoughts of RVing and outdoor cooking are beggining to intrude more and more into the thoughts of RVers. Says one poll: 85 percent of consumers prefer to cook outdoors. If that's true for all Americans, think of how high that percentage must be for those of us who RV.

There is one disturbing statistic to relate: Every year, firemen respond to 8,600 fire calls related to grills and barbecues. So in addition to smoker chips and salsa, a pinch of safety is a good idea to add to your outdoor cooking staples. Some of these ideas are pretty straight-forward, but there may be a wrinkle you'll find new.

·    Got a new grill or firepit? Check out the old instruction manual before firing it up.

·    Don't leave the cooker unattended – it may take care of itself, but curious kids or critters could get involved.

·    Keep the grill away from your rig – or any other structure – by at least 10 feet. Don't cook inside an "Arizona room" unless you'd like to court carbon monoxide poisoning.

·    High winds? Not a good time to grill – it's a quick recipe for spreading the flames away from the food and onto something you don't want cooked.

·    Cooking with coals? Once your charcoal is lit, don't add "extra" lighter fluid, or any other flammable liquids either. And don't move the charcoal grill until it's had a chance to completely cool down.

·    Gas grills should be checked for leaks whenever reconnected. And heaven forbid, don't join the candidates list for the "Darwin Awards" by trying to change connections while the thing's lit! When you light, keep the lid up – a closed lid is looking for a flash off. Be careful at this stage of the game, nearly a third of folks hurt in gas grill injuries "got it" when lighting up.

·    Cooking on the campfire? Keep your fire at least 15' from your RV or tent, shrubs, and trees with low-hanging limbs. Safety equipment like a bucket of water and shovel within easy reach will keep you safer. While Smokey used to say, "Water, stir, repeat," putting out a campfire with dirt and sand mixed with embers is considered an acceptable practice, provided you keep mixing until the embers are cool.

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