Tips For Safe Outdoor Grilling This Summer

Picture credit Pleasant Valley Fire Dept

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)- – Summer is here and that means outdoor grilling. The fire officials are urging you to be fire safe when you are barbecuing and grilling outdoors. Unfortunately, this time of year also brings injuries and fires because of outdoor cooking and recreational fires. According to the United States Fire Administration, almost 3,800 Americans are injured annually by gas or charcoal grill fires.

Having fun and making special memories should be what summer is for, and by knowing and following a few fire safety tips, everyone can have a safe and fun summer.

Grill Safety

  • 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.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets from the grill area: declare a three-foot “safe zone” around the grill
  • Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when cooking.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

Charcoal Grills

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
  • Propane Grills
  • Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
  • If you determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:

1. Turn off the propane tank and grill.

2. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

3. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.

An estimated 5,700 grill fires occur on residential properties each year in the United States with nearly half (49 percent) of grill fires on residential properties occurring from 5 to 8 p.m.

Over half (57 percent) of grill fires on residential properties occur in the 4 months of May, June, July, and August. The fire officials remind you to have a safe summer by staying fire safe by being fire wise.

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