It’s summertime & the grilling is easy… if approached safely

by Jason Pallotta, Asst. Chief, Inlet Vol. Fire Dept.

 Now that we’re in the midst of summer, many of us are firing up the grill to cook up our favorite summer time meals. I would like to share some facts and safety tips to help make your next barbeque safe and enjoyable.

Facts and Figures:

Between 2005 and 2009, fire departments across the U. S. responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, barbeques, or hibachis per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires.

These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths,120 civilian injuries, and $75 million in direct property damage.

More than one quarter (29%) of the home fires invoving grills started on a courtyard, terrace, or patio, with 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen.

In 2009, 17,700 patients were sent to the emergency room because of injuries related to grilling. Children under the age of five accounted for almost one quarter (22%) of the injuries.

Roughly one-third of gas grill injuries were burns incurred while lighting the grill. Gasoline or lighter fluid was a factor in roughly one-quarter of the charcoal or wood burning grill burns.

With these facts in mind, here are some safety tips to help prevent injuries and/or fires while grilling this summer.• Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

• The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhangs.

• Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.

• Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat build up from the grill and in trays below the grill.

• Never leave your grill unattended.

When using a charcoal grill, there are several ways to get the charcoal ready for 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 once started.

• Keep lighter fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

• There are electric charcoal starters,which do not use fire. Be sure to use an outdoor extension cord.

• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

For propane grills:

• 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. If there is a propane leak it will release bubbles.

• If your grill has a leak, detected either by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the grill and the gas tank.

• If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

• If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Please keep these safety tips in mind this summer when grilling. Enjoy and be safe.

If you have any questions or concerns about these safety tips or any other fire related questions,contact your local fire department, or you can reach me at the Inlet Fire Department at (315) 357-6601 and leave a message.


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