Grilling season is upon us and the fourth of July is a HUGE grilling day. Remember to keep safety first while grilling, especially during near-drought conditions. The National Fire Protection Association reminds you to use safe grilling practices. Almost half (49 percent) of grill fires on residential properties occur from 5 to 8 p.m. Grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year.
Here are a few grilling safety tips:
* Only use propane and charcoal grills outside of the home – never use them indoors.
* Make sure the grill is positioned well away from the home and/or deck railings, and that it is not underneath any eaves or overhanging branches. It should also be far from any lawn games, play areas, or foot traffic. You want to be at least 10 feet away from any structure, so if there is any problem with the grill you’re not going to have your home or a garage on fire.
* Establish a child and pet-free zone around the grill of at least three feet.
* Use grilling tools that have long handles, which will allow more clearance from the flames.
* Remember to clean fat and grease off the grill and from trays underneath it regularly in order to reduce the risk of it igniting.
* Never leave the grill unattended.
* Before using the grill for the first time each year, check the gas tank hose for leaks. To do this, apply a light soap and water solution to the hose and turn the tank on. If the hose releases bubbles, this indicates a propane leak. If you find a leak,
o- turn the gas tank off.
o- if the leak stops, bring your grill to a professional to be serviced before further use.
o- if the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
* Only use equipment bearing the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Use the manufacturer’s instructions regarding assembly, use, and proper care of the grill.
*Make sure you light your match or lighter before turning on the propane. This will prevent too much gas build up.
* If you smell gas while using the grill, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department.
* Do not store propane tanks indoors in houses or garages. If storing your grill indoors during the winter months, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
* If using a “charcoal chimney” to light charcoal for grilling, use a long match to avoid burning your fingers while lighting the paper.
* Never put gasoline on charcoal and only use lighter fluid once. Just be patient and let the coals heat up.
* Keep charcoal fluid away from heat sources and out of reach of children.
* When finished grilling, wait for the coals to cool completely and then dispose of them in a metal container.