Jeff Mlekush, Coordinator of Safety Operations
The weather is warming up. Spring has sprung. And what do our thoughts turn to? Barbeque! Party Time! It’s excellent!
It’s a great time of year to begin enjoying the outdoors, but try not to let the euphoria overwhelm you and get complacent when it comes to safety. Please review the following tips to keep you and your loved ones safe when cooking out. These guidelines, in their entirety, can also be found on The Hub.
- Check for burn bans before firing up. (http://www.forestry.ok.gov/burn-ban-info )
- Grill outdoors.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to properly use it.
- Grill at least 20 feet away from any structures.
- Don’t use grills under combustible material like wood overhangs, tents or canopies.
- Don’t leave grill unattended at any time.
- If you smell gas while cooking, turn off the gas tank and burners immediately.
- Propane containers should not be stored inside vehicles or any buildings.
- Maintain grill in a clean and sanitary condition.
- Maintain grills in good working condition according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Proper food preparation and handling should be adhered to.
- Do not dump coals in landscaping or grass; dump in approved ash containers.
- Avoid perishable foods. Examples of foods that spoil easily are dairy, eggs, cheeses, fish and meats.
- Consider prepackaged, prewashed foods.
- Clean – Wash hands, surfaces and utensils often.
- Separate, don’t cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from others during preparation and cooking. Use different ice for cooling drink containers than you use for drinking. Wear disposable gloves when preparing and serving for others.
- Cook to proper temperatures. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. Bacteria that cause food-borne illness grow at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F.
- Refrigerate promptly. Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying, so keep perishable foods in the refrigerator.
- Follow the two-hour rule. If you put food out at room temperature, don’t leave it out for more than two hours.
- Clean up completely.