Topic: Barbecues & Grills

Date Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

Practice safety around the grill during barbeque season

Livonia firefighters would like to remind cooks not to forget about barbeque fire safety during the peak months for outdoor cooking, especially as they hover around popular gas appliances. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), gas-fueled grills were involved in more than 80 percent of home grill fires and were involved in 6,400 home fires, including structure and outside fires. The leading cause of gas grill fires was a leak or break in hoses.

At the beginning of grilling season, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the hoses, burners and fittings to ensure there are no cracks, leaks or rusted sections. If something is amiss, consider replacing the parts or it may be time for a new grill if you discover considerable corrosion. This is a good time to do a thorough cleaning, giving yourself time to inspect the parts while doing so.

Make sure the hoses and fittings do not leak by squirting them with soapy water. If you see the liquid start to bubble, you need to tighten the fitting or replace the hose. If you smell gas while cooking, turn off the propane tank until you have the time to test it properly.

Although gas grills are used approximately one-and-a-half times more often than charcoal grills, they were involved in five times as many fires. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300, or 16 percent, of home grill fires. The leading cause of these fires was combustibles located too close to the grill.

In 2007, approximately 9,600 people visited hospital emergency rooms because of thermal burns caused by grills. About one-third of the burns from gas grills happened when lighting them. Gasoline or lighter fluid was involved in roughly one-quarter of charcoal or wood grill burns. Children under 5 accounted for roughly one-quarter of thermal grill burns. Most of these burns occurred when the child bumped or touched the grill.

Use propane and charcoal grills in outdoor areas only. Rain or other inclement weather is not a reason to move the barbecue into the garage or under the overhang. Make sure the grill is located at least 10 feet from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill, and never leave the grill unattended. Make sure your garden hose is handy and turned on, just in case of an emergency where you have to act quickly.

Using your barbecue to make a nice dinner is a great way to spend an evening enjoying the great weather. Take the time and effort to make sure the only thing heating up is the food you put on the grill.

Shadd Whitehead is the chief 
of Livonia Fire & Rescue.

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