Grilling season has arrived, so here are some safety reminders so you can avoid riding in one of our ambulances.
If you are planning on grilling up some grub, make sure nobody gets burned and don’t set something else on fire such as your deck, your garage or even your house.
In this case, a little prevention goes a long way. Ponderosa Fire Chief Fred Windisch says, “If your gas line is a flexible hose and it is dry and/or cracked do not use the grill until you purchase a replacement, install it and check it for leaks.” (See Gas Grill section below for info on how to check for leaks)
Three out of five households own a gas grill. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), each year an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling, and nearly half of all injuries involving grills are due to burns. While nearly half of the people who grill do it year-round, July is the peak month for grill fires followed by May, June and August.
General grilling tips
• 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 away from the grill area.
• Keep your grill clean by removing grease buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
• Never leave your grill unattended.
• Check the major connection points between the natural gas or propane tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
• Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
Turn the propane tank on. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose.
• Once you’ve determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or by administering the soapy bubble test and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and burners. If the leak stops at that point, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.
• 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.
Grilling incidents by the numbers
In 2012, 16,900 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.
One of every six (16%) home structure fires in which grills were involved in ignition, something that could catch fire was too close to the grill.
Overall, leaks or breaks were factors in one of every five reported grill fires.
Gas grills contribute to a higher number of home fires overall than their charcoal counterparts