Outdoor Grilling Safety
The onset of warm weather signals the beginning of Barbecue Season! Fire Chief Richard Bowers of the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service wants you and your loved ones to enjoy this season SAFELY! Below are some tips from the National Fire Protection Association that he hopes will help:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets far away from grills: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
- With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluids designed for barbecue grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit. NEVER use gasoline!
- With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow off propane before capacity is reached. OPDS are easily identified by their triangle-shaped hand wheel.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and have the grill. repaired by a professional, if necessary.
- Remember to keep your grill clean! Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto grill and catch fire.
- REMEMBER! Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
According to the Barbeque Industry Association, three out of four households in the United States own a barbeque grill. From making a quick dinner to barbequing a feast for family and friends, when lighting a charcoal or gas grill, it's important to remember that a savory barbeque is a safe barbeque.
- According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gas and charcoal grills cause an annual average of 1,500 structure fires and 4,200 outdoor fires in or on residential properties, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $29.8 million.
Make Fire Safety a Priority
Protection can be relatively simple and inexpensive. To help prevent fire fatalities and injuries at your home this summer:
- Only use your barbeque grill outside. Grills are not designed to be used in a trailer, tent, garage, or house. Carbon monoxide can build-up and poison you.
- Set-up a grill in an open area away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always barbeque in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of wind blown sparks.
- Always read the owners manual before using the grill.
- Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Keep a multipurpose fire extinguisher within easy reach.
- When purchasing a fire extinguisher, choose the largest size that can be handled comfortably.
- Wear clothing that does not have hanging sleeves or apron strings, and use flame retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
- Never leave a grill unattended once it is lit.
- Use long-handled utensils to avoid burns and splatters.
- Never attempt to move a hot grill.
- If using a charcoal grill, gasoline should never be used in place of charcoal lighter fluid. And never reapply charcoal lighter fluid after the fire has started; the flames can ignite the vapors, and travel up to the can causing an explosion.
Consumers should use caution when storing LP gas containers. Always keep containers upright. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.
To avoid accidents while transporting LP gas containers, consumers should transport the container in a secure, upright position. Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk. Heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.
Consumers should use extreme caution and always follow manufacturer's instructions when connecting or disconnecting LP gas containers.
Grills manufactured after October 1, 1995, are required to have three additional safety features to eliminate leak hazards: a device to limit the flow of gas in the event of hose rupture; a mechanism to shut-off the grill; and a feature to prevent the flow of gas if the connection between the tank and the grill is not leak proof. Consumers should consider purchasing grills that have these safety features. Sources: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and NFPA