The Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital is encouraging fire safety and burn prevention throughout the summer, especially in the area of grilling. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, in 2002, gas and charcoal grills caused 900 structure fires and 3,500 outdoor fires in or on home properties, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $30 million. Placing combustibles too close to heat, and leaving cooking unattended, are the two leading causes for charcoal grill home structure fires.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors.
- Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings 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 away 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 flipping burgers.
- Periodically remove grease or fast buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- Charcoal grills: Purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can 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 quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles.
- If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.