Take safety precautions during the grilling season

As community members continue to follow safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, we would like to remind you of another category of safety tips for using the grill during the summer grilling season.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, approximately 9,600 home fires begin with the use of a grill. July is the month with the most, followed by May, June and August. More than 16,000 people are admitted to the emergency room each year for grill-related injuries. Most involve thermal burns, which account for 8,200 of those visits, according to the NFPA.

They suggest some simple safety tips to prevent dangers:

The grates must be used outdoors. Using a grill indoors or in any confined space, such as tents and garages, presents both a fire hazard and a risk of toxic gas exposure and potential suffocation.

  • Position the grill 15 feet from siding, deck railings, other combustibles, and out of under eaves or overhanging vegetation.
  • Place the grill at a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Declare a 3 foot “safe zone” around the grill.
  • Take out several long-handled cookware to give the chef plenty of heat and flame release.
  • Periodically remove any grease or grease buildup in the trays under the grill so that it cannot ignite with heat.
  • Keep a garden hose or portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire gets out of hand.
Charcoal grilling adds a smoky flavor, and the secret to juicy chicken on the grill is to season the chicken with a rub first.

Charcoal barbecues

  • Only the correct charcoal starter fluid should be used. Never use flammable or combustible liquids, other than charcoal starter liquid, to light the grill.
  • Keep charcoal starter fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter liquid when coals or kindling have been ignited.
  • Charcoal ash can stay hot for several days and can start a fire long after the grill has been used. Use care when disposing of ashes and never store ashes in a plastic or other combustible container.
  • Never bring a grill into the house. Carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous and even fatal in an enclosed space.

Gas grills

  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately shut off the gas supply, step away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not try to move the grill.
  • All gas cylinders manufactured after April 2002 must be fitted with overfill protection devices. OPDs shut off the gas flow before capacity is reached, which limits the potential for the release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. You can easily identify OPDs by their triangular shaped steering wheel.
  • Use only equipment marked by an independent testing laboratory and properly listed for the application (commercial, residential, etc.) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly, installation, use and maintenance.

The Tallahassee Fire Department reminds everyone that having a plan and knowing what to do in an emergency can save your life and the life of your family. For more safety tips, you can call the fire department at 850-891-6672, or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Susan W. Lloyd