Play it safe when you are grilling
A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard
Lieutenant Michael McLeieer, Olivet Fire Department
When the warmer weather arrives, there’s nothing better than the smell of food on the grill. It’s the most popular way to cook food.
Did you know, according to the Patio and Barbecue Association, seven out of every ten adults in the United States have a grill or smoker, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. In fact July is the peak month for grill fires and roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.
In 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires. These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian fire deaths, 160 civilian injuries and $123 million in direct property damage.
A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries. Here are some simple tips to follow so you will be on your way to safe grilling this summer season!
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.
- If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call 911.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911. Do not move the grill.
- If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.