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Cookout safety tips for Memorial Day barbecue

Becky Campbell • May 20, 2020 at 6:49 PM

Before firing up the grill for the Memorial Day weekend fire officials said it’s wise to take some steps to ensure it’s a safe endeavor.

Here are some tips to consider:

• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Whether it’s assembly, maintenance, or cleaning, keep your grill manufacturer’s instructions close-by for any questions involving your grill. Keep the top open when starting a propane grill, and don’t close it until you are sure the grill has lighted.

• Check for Leaks: Before connecting the cylinder to a propane gas grill burner for the first time, use a leak-detection solution (a 50/50 mixture of water and liquid soap) to check connections for leaks. Expanding bubbles indicate a leak. Follow this procedure every time you replace a cylinder.

• Use Appropriate Relighting Procedures: If your flame goes out, turn off the gas and refer to your owner’s manual. At a minimum, with all grill models, keep the lid open and wait at least 15 minutes before relighting.

• Stay Attentive: Stay close and never leave your grill unattended.

• Shut it Down: When not in use, grill burner controls should be turned off and the cylinder valve closed.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, grilling increases the risk of a house fire.

In 2014-18, fire departments went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.

The NFPA said based on 2014-18 annual averages:

• July is the peak month for grill fires (18%), including both structure, outdoor or unclassified fires, followed by June (15%), May (13%) and August (12%).

• The grill had not been cleaned in more than one-quarter (29%) of the home grill structure fires.

• The leading area of origin for structure fires involving grills was an exterior balcony or open porch, and 44 percent of the property damage from grill structure fires resulted from fires that started there.

• Five of every six grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas (84 percent), while 12 percent used charcoal or another solid fuel.

• Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,900 home fires per year. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills.

• Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300 home fires per year.

For more on guidelines regarding handling a propane cylinder for your gas grill and the proper sequence for starting your gas grill go to: https://www.blossmangas.com/top-10-grilling-safety-tips/.

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