Updated 05/25/2012 05:48 PM
Remember grilling safety this Memorial Day weekend
Memorial Day Weekend is here and many people are getting ready for barbeques and picnics. But as our Melissa Kakareka tells us, there are a few things you need to remember to make sure the celebration is safe.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken. These are just a few of the things people will be cooking to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. But before you fire up that grill, there are a few safety precautions to keep in mind.
"Lots of people are just starting to cook, so make sure everything is clean, no cobwebs inside the tubes or anything, make sure it's just clean and operating properly," said Binghamton Fire Marshal Dan Eggleston.
Proper equipment maintenance is an important part of the grilling process. Also, be sure to avoid pouring starter fluid onto an open flame and never grill inside or under a porch.
Firefighters also remind people to keep an eye on the fire, especially if children are nearby.
"You should never leave a fire unattended at any time, anything burning, you should always extinguish a fire if you are going to leave," said Eggleston.
Once you've safely prepared the grill, there are a few food preparation tips you need to remember so that you don't get sick.
"It's very common historically to defrost our meat on the counter, but the best way to defrost meat is in the refrigerator or if you can't do it that way or need to fast defrost, it's in a cool bath of water," said Broome County Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Program Manager Vicki Giarratano.
Once meat is ready, health officials say make sure you're cooking it to the proper temperatures. And in this warm weather, never leave food out more than two hours. Dishes should be kept cold so they don't spoil.
"In order to keep your foods cool, it's really good to put it in a insulated bag and put foods on top of that it'll keep them cool and safe and taste better," said Giarratano.
Some helpful reminders to make sure your Memorial Day picnic is both delicious and safe.