For many South Central Texas residents, May marks the beginning of cookout season. It’s a time when family and friends begin gathering to celebrate warm temperatures and beautiful, sunny skies. There’s always plenty of laughter and comradery, outdoor amusements, and delicious, freshly cooked food.

May is National Electrical Safety Month

With electric smokers, BBQ pits and outdoor grills becoming more common these days, that makes May a perfect time for tips to help keep your pre-summer cookouts “charged” with fun, but free of electrically-charged mishaps.

Serving Size / One Day of Fun In The Sun

1. Always plug your electric smoker, pit or grill into an outlet with a built-in ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

GFCIs cut power to an electrical outlet upon detecting improper electricity flow—usually caused by water. If you don’t have an outdoor plug with one, consider upgrading or purchasing a portable GFCI from a local hardware store.

2. Never use your electric cookout appliance in the rain or near standing water.

No matter the electrical device, water and electricity don’t mix! Ask yourself: Is that perfectly cooked burger or hot dog—even steak or salmon—worth the risk of a serious electric shock or electrocution?

3. Make sure your electric cookout device is properly grounded.

If the plug includes an extra, rounded “grounding pole,” you’re set. Always plug in to a compatible outlet, though, and never a three-hole adapter. And only use extension cords graded for outdoor use and the amount of wattage or amps your cooker pulls. It’s also a good idea to only plug one device in per outlet.

4. Always store electric cookout appliances in a dry place with cords properly stored to prevent damage, and leave unplugged when cleaning or not using.

Before operating your appliance, inspect the cord for damage, and don’t use if you find any. Also, be sure the temperature dial or power switch is set to “off” before plugging in.

5. Never clean your device’s electrical components—cords, plugs, heating elements, etc.—by immersing them in water or other liquid.

Only non-electrical parts—grills, removable lids and removable trays, etc.—can be cleaned this way.

6. Watch out for power lines, electric poles and pad mount transformers (the big green boxes)!

Keep clear of all three, allowing at least 20 feet of clearance if possible. And never use your electric cooker device near combustible or flammable materials.

There you have it—some simple tips for keeping pre-summer cookouts fun, delicious and emergency-free. For more electrical tips to help stay safely powered all year-round, keep reading The GVEC Review, follow us on Cooperative social media, or visit our blog at gvec.org.

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