By Chief Gary Lohr for The Island Connection
Outdoor grilling is popular throughout the year. Whether you use a charcoal or propane grill, it’s important to be careful around the grill to prevent fires, burns, and property damage.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an estimated 8,600 home fires involving grills. Leaks or breaks were the leading cause of grill fires and a particular problem with gas fueled grills. Other leading factors of grill fires were using the grill too close to combustibles and unattended cooking.
The St. Johns Fire District would like to remind residents of these following tips:
• Grills should be used outdoors only and away from combustible balconies, eaves, and overhangs.
• Never leave a lit grill unattended.
• Clean the grill after use to remove grease or fat buildup in the trays underneath.
• Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
• Using long-handled cooking utensils will help prevent burns. If you are using a propane grill:
• Check your propane cylinder hose for leaks. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. Bubbles will reveal escaping propane.
• If you suspect your grill has a leak, through the bubble test or by smell, and there is no flame, turn the tank and the grill off. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department.
If you are using a charcoal grill:
• Store starter or lighter fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid to coals or kindling that you’ve already ignited.
• Allow charcoals to cool before disposing in a metal container.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to safer grilling and an enjoyable holiday!