Take precautions to avoid grill fires

Published 12:14 am Sunday, May 26, 2013

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. One might say it also marks the start of grilling season. The U.S. Fire Administration reported that more than half of the country’s grill fires occur in May, June, July and August.
Before you light up that grill, please take a few precautions. Take a few minutes to check that the grill is sturdy and give it a good cleaning. If you are using a gas grill, check for leaks in the hoses and that the grill is properly hooked up.
It may be easiest to position the grill next to your back door, but consider safety first. Try to avoid high-traffic areas and place the grill at least 10 feet from your home.
Avoid flare-ups and potential fires by opening your grill’s hood before lighting your gas grill. If a leak is present, accumulated fumes could cause a fire. The majority (69 percent) of grill fires use propane as a power source.
If using coals, be patient. Once the coals are lit, do not add lighter fluid. Do not leave the grill unattended.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated 10 deaths and 100 injuries each year. About $37 million in property damage is credited to grill incidents.
Nearly half of the grill fires happen between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Consider grilling in the morning, before guests arrive and become a distraction or alcohol affects your judgment.
A few safety precautions can go a long way.