With warmer weather, residents move many of their activities to the outdoors. One of the most dangerous, but most popular, summer activities is lighting up the outside grill for cooking. During these warm months, the FDBD helps dozens of residents who are injured and/or have out-of-control fires because of grilling accidents. For that reason, we offer residents some general safety tips to keep in mind when using charcoal or gas grills.
- Burning charcoal produces a huge amount of carbon monoxide poisoning and can be fatal if not burned properly. Remind your family, especially children, to NEVER burn charcoal in an enclosed area such as a building, tent or similar structure. Burning charcoal in an enclosed area will produce enough carbon monoxide poisoning to be fatal in a very short amount of time.
- Purchase the proper starter fluid for charcoal. Never use other types of flammable liquids in place of charcoal starter fluid. Store the starter fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources that can cause accidental ignition.
- A leading cause of injury related to the use of lighter fluids is attempting to relight charcoal. Pouring lighter fluid onto already hot coals causes the fluid to quickly vaporize. These vapors become extremely flammable and can catch people’s clothing, hair and other items near the grill on fire.
- After you have finished grilling, allow the coals to completely cool before disposing of them appropriately. Your safest bet is to wait until the next day to dispose of the spent coals.
Propane is a compressed gas that is in a mostly liquid state inside the tank. Compressed propane becomes a gas at 43° below zero. This is why it is a desirable heating and cooking fuel. However, propane gas can quickly build up and cause an explosion if there is a leaking fuel line. Improperly connected hoses, cracked or broken hoses, or misaligned venturi tubes can release unlit propane that can quickly build up and cause an explosion. Modern gas grills are vented to prevent gases from building up inside cabinets, so a slow leak doesn’t pose much of a danger, but turning off the gas is always the safest strategy.
To avoid propane gas leaks or an explosion, check the gas hoses and connections on your propane grill with a soap solution before you use it. If bubbles are seen, TURN OFF the propane and replace the hose(s) before cooking.
- If the grill is not lit and you smell gas, TURN OFF the propane tank and check all connections.
- If the grill is lit and you smell gas, it is best to call the Fire Department as a gas leak may ignite just as you attempt to turn off the gas supply.
- NEVER light a gas grill with the lid closed.
- If the grill does not light in 5-10 seconds, turn off the supply, wait a few minutes and attempt to light again.
- All propane cylinders manufactured after April 2002 are required to have an overfill protection device. You can easily identify this safety feature by the triangular shaped hand wheel that operates the cylinder. This feature does not allow the cylinder to be overfilled.
- NEVER store propane in occupied buildings or garages.