HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Fourth of July is a big day for grilling, and the Hattiesburg Fire Department and food safety experts shared rules to keep both people and food safe this weekend.
Fire Marshall Johnny Jackson said all grills should be used outdoors at least 10 feet from buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.
"Never leave it alone or unattended at any time, and keep children away from the grill at all times," Jackson said.
He also said cooks should check the grill top is clean and the propane tank is working properly before grilling.
"You want to check the hose, connection to the burners, regulators and the tank," Jackson said. "You can apply a soapy solution to the hoses and turn the tank on, and if there's any bubbles present, that means you have a leak. And then you want to get it serviced by a professional."
Michael Bauer, owner of Mike's Food Safety Class, agreed the grill should be cleaned before cooking, and added that hand washing and using separate utensils for raw and cooked food are essential to keeping food safe to eat.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, food should be left out for more than two hours at room temperature, and no more than an hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees.
Bauer had a simple solution to make sure cold dishes, like potato salad, are safe to eat.