Summer is the time for fun with family, friends and BBQ’s! It is also the time for grilling fires. Almost half of grill fires on residential properties occur in the months of May, June, July and August. Here are some tips to keep your grilling safe this summer.
- Keep grills at least 10 feet from any structure: Grilling mishaps cause more than 8,300 fires and send 3,000 people to the emergency room each year. Never grill indoors or near garages or porches, even if it’s raining.
- Have a spray bottle or fire extinguisher handy: An unexpected flare up can burn more than your burgers. Use a spray bottle to avoid flare ups and have a fire extinguisher nearby. Also, coals get hot – in some cases up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit – so dispose of charcoal away from kids and pets and cool it down with a hose.
- Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire: Both can cause an explosion. When grilling, use insulated, flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbeque tongs and utensils to handle food and coals. When finished with coals, dispose of them properly – douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Check gas grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks: If the tank valve or grill needs repair, do not attempt to do it yourself. Take it to your local home improvement store or qualified appliance repair person.
- Inspect outdoor decorative lights carefully: Some families add backyard ambience with outdoor decorative lighting. Do not connect more than three midget light string sets together. Light strings with screw-in bulbs should have a maximum of 50 bulbs connected together. Be sure to use light strings bearing the UL Mark, which means UL has tested samples of the product for risk of fire, electric shock and other hazards.
- Review your family’s fire safety plan this summer. Have emergency numbers and an escape plan, and make sure everyone understands what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you have fire extinguishers at hand before you use barbecues, outdoor grills or fire pits.
- Go over fire safety rules with children if they are old enough to understand. Don’t leave matches, candles, fireworks or grill lighters unattended where small children can get to them. It is a good idea to erect barriers to prevent small children from getting too close to barbecues or fire pits.