As a volunteer firefighter, I’ve seen my share of grilling fires. In the Deep South where I live, they are common enough throughout the year, but the frequency of calls involving grass fires, house fires and forest fires caused by backyard barbecues start going up around Memorial Day and don’t really let up until the fall.
Grilling fires are serious business. I have a six-inch burn scar that encircles one of my ankles, the result of an accident caused by a faulty grill. Two months of debriding is painful and no way enjoy grilling season!
Grill fires get started for a number of stupid reasons. Mine flared up because lighter fluid was stored too close to the grill. But I’ve also responded to fires started because a rickety charcoal grill collapsed, a gas grill sprang a propane leak and because some idiot lit a hibachi on his screened-in porch.
If you haven’t fired up your grill in a while, here are some important safety tips to remember from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital:
• If you’re using a propane gas grill, inspect your propane tank and hoses for leaks, dents, cracks or corrosion.
• Always light the match before turning on the propane gas.
• Never use your grill indoors or under any structure that may catch fire, such as patio covers.
• Never smoke cigarettes or use matches or lighters near the grill.
• If you’re using a charcoal grill, use water to make sure that coals are extinguished and be careful never to dispose of briquettes that are still hot.
• Avoid loose clothing while grilling, especially long sleeves.
• Keep kids away from the grill at all times.
Did you learn your lesson the hard way when it comes to grilling safety? Share your story in the comment box below.
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