Fire Safety Tips
Grills and Campfires
Every year Americans look
forward to summer vacations, camping, family reunions, picnics, and the Fourth
of July. Summertime, however, also brings fires and injuries due to outdoor
cooking and recreational fires. Annually, there are almost 3,800 Americans injured
by gas or charcoal grill fires.
Summertime should be a time
of fun and making happy memories. Knowing a few fire safety tips and following
safety instructions will help everyone have a safe summer.
Residential Grill Fire Facts
An estimated 5,700 grill
fires occur on residential properties each year in the United States.
Almost half (49 percent) of
grill fires on residential properties occur from 5 to 8 p.m.
Over half (57 percent) of
grill fires on residential properties occur in the 4 months of May, June, July,
Thirty-two percent of grill
fires on residential properties start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches,
Propane and charcoal BBQ
grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces
such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants
to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
Position the grill well
away from siding, deck railing, and out from under eaves and overhanging
Place the grill a safe
distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
Keep children and pets from
the grill area: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
Put out several
long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and
flames when cooking.
Periodically remove grease
or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
Purchase the proper starter
fluid and store out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
Never add charcoal starter
fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any
flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the
Check the propane cylinder
hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and
water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by
If you determined your
grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame:
1. Turn off the propane tank and grill.
2. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before
using it again.
3. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
If you smell gas while cooking,
immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not
attempt to move the grill.
All propane cylinders
manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill protection devices (OPD). OPDs
shut off the flow of propane before capacity is reached, limiting the potential
for release of propane gas if the cylinder heats up. OPDs are easily identified
by their triangular-shaped hand wheel.
Use only equipment bearing
the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers' instructions
on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
Never store propane
cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the
winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
First Aid for Burns
For minor burns, take the
Cool the burn. Hold the
burned area under cool (not cold) running water for 10 or 15 minutes or until
the pain subsides. If this is impractical, immerse the burn in cool water or
cool it with cold compresses. Cooling the burn reduces swelling by conducting
heat away from the skin. Don't put ice on the burn.
Cover the burn with a
sterile gauze bandage. Don't use fluffy cotton, or other material that may get
lint in the wound. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned
skin. Bandaging keeps air off the burn reduces pain and protects blistered
Take an over-the-counter
pain reliever. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen. Use
caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved
for use in children older than 2, children and teenagers recovering from
chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin.
Talk to a doctor if you