Fire department offers grilling safety advice

Grilling safety (U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Austin M. May)

Grilling safety (U.S. Air Force illustration/Staff Sgt. Austin M. May)

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- With the arrival of the summer sun, many of us will turn our attention to the outdoors. Those who shy away from the stove all year round will disappear into the garage to reappear with the grill under the belief they have unfulfilled talent in the culinary department.

Outdoor grilling is a fun and sociable way to cook food. But, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, July is the peak month for grill fires. Roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns.

Follow these simple tips for safe grilling:

Safety tips
  • Use propane and charcoal grills outdoors only.
  • Place the grill well away from the house, trees and other combustible items on a flat surface and keep children, pets and garden games well away from the grill area.
  • Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat build up from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.
Charcoal grills
  • Use only approved/sanctioned fire lighters or starter fuel and only on cold coals. Use the minimum necessary and never use gasoline or kerosene.
  • Use only enough charcoal to cover the base to a depth of approximately 2 inches.
  • When you have finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing in a metal container.
Propane grills
  • Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose - a propane leak will create bubbles.
  • If you suspect a leak, turn off the gas cylinder and have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak doesn't stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas whilst cooking, get away from the grill and immediately call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn off the grill and gas and wait 15 minutes before reigniting.
Remember, summer is an enjoyable time of year allowing many to be outside more. If grilling is one of your summer trends or activities, practice good grilling habits and be safe.