By Frank Bova
Whether using gas or charcoal, grill safely.
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of backyard grilling season. The Insurance Information Institute estimated that Americans enjoy more than three billion barbecues each year.
Unfortunately, each summer season also brings numerous home fires and burn injuries associated with outdoor grilling activities. A study of residential fires by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported:
- In 2012, about 16,900 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.
- In one of every six (16 percent) home structure fires in which grills were involved in ignition, something that could catch fire was too close to the grill.
- Overall, leaks or breaks were factors in one of every five reported gas grill fires.
A few simple tips and reminders to help you start off the grilling season safely:
- Read the instructions and owner’s manual. If you don’t have instructions or a manual, go to the manufacturer’s website or call their customer service number to obtain a copy.
- Use the grill as it was intended – for outside use only and in a well ventilated area.
- Never leave a grill unattended while it is fired up and keep both kids and pets away from the area.
- When you refill the propane tank or connect the fuel line at the start of the season, use a leak detection solution to ensure that connections are tight and leak free.
- Keep the grill clean – check for grease and fat in the drip pans before firing up the grill.
- Never use gasoline to start a charcoal fire. Use only charcoal starter fluid, and read the directions on its use and storage.
- Dispose of hot coal ash properly to prevent burns or fires, handling ashes only after they are completely cooled.
Along with the grill instructions and operating manual there are numerous sites to visit to learn more about enjoying your cookout by grilling safely.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commissions (CPSC)
- The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- The Propane Education and Research Council
So fire up your grill safely and enjoy the season!
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