Gloucester Fire Department Offers Grilling and Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips

Chief Eric Smith would like to remind Gloucester residents to practice safe grilling habits while cooking outdoors this season.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 57% of home grill fires occur from May to August, with July being the peak month. A leading cause of these grill fires is mechanical failures or malfunctions, such as leaks or breaks of containers or pipes.
To prevent fires from occurring, the Gloucester Fire Department would like to share the following safety tips provided by the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association:
  • Never leave your grill unattended while cooking.
  • Patios, terraces, screened-in porches and courtyards are leading home locations for grill fires. Grills should always be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • At the very least, grills should be kept at least three feet from siding, deck rails and eaves.
  • Have a 3-foot safe zone around grills and campfires. Keep kids and pets away from the area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. This will help prevent grease fires.
  • Check the fire danger rating in your area to determine if weather, or other factors, make it dangerous to light a fire.
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

Charcoal Grills

  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Propane Grills

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. To check for a leak, apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. If there’s a propane leak the bubbles will be released.
  • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. 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.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.
If you have any additional questions on fire safety or prevention, contact the Gloucester Fire Department at 978-325-5300.
As always, if you have an emergency, call 911.

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