barbecue

Make sure to stay safe while you enjoy the barbecue this summer.

There’s nothing like outdoor grilling. It’s one of the most popular ways to cook food. But, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries. Follow these simple tips from the National Fire Protection Association and you will be on the way to safe grilling:

Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors. The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Never leave your grill unattended. Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel. 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 in a metal container.

For propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. 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. Do not move the grill. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.

Drexel Heights Fire District Board meets on the third Friday of each month at 9 a.m., in the training classroom next to Station # 1, located at 5030 S. Camino Verde. The public is encouraged to attend. All meetings are handicap accessible and with 10 days written notice, arrangements can be made for the hearing impaired. 

Tracy Koslowski is the Drexel Heights Fire District Public Education/Information Manager.

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