Getting Grilling Season Going Safely - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Getting Grilling Season Going Safely

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SALISBURY, Md. - Across the country grills are getting fired up for the first of many feasts this summer. But in all the excitement of cooking up the perfect meal outside, missing a few small safety tips could cause serious damage.

"We certainly start to see an increase in thermal burns as well as the possibility of house fires," said Acting Assistant Fire Chief James Jester, of the Salisbury Fire Department.

James Jester of the Salisbury Fire department says grilling accidents peak in June and July, often from people not paying attention, and from the grills being too close to buildings.

Nearly 9,000 house fires were caused by grills each year between 2006 and 2011, and a third of them happened on a balcony or porch. The fires caused 10 deaths, 140 injuries and $96 million in direct property damage on average each year during that span.

"I think propane and all that can be a really scary thing to deal with, and I personally don't like to light grills because of it," said Stephanie Dawid, who was out for a day of softball and grilling at Northside Park. "Definitely more attention needs to be paid to safety."

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of all grilling injuries involve burns. So in order to keep you and everyone else at the picnic table and out of the ER this grilling season, keep a three foot safe zone around the grill for children and pets. And have a designated person to keep an eye on what's going on, under the hood.

"Your also going to want to keep the lid open, you don't want the lid closed, especially on a gas grill," said Jester. "When you go to light it, you're going to want the lid open."

And before you get started, check your gas hoses for leaks. You can spray soapy water on them, and if you see bubbles forming, it should be replaced.

The warning with charcoal grills: be patient. Don't add extra lighter fluid once they're lit. The flames could ignite the stream and cause severe damage.

Once you're done, make sure the coals are out and the gas grill is turned off. And store the propane tanks separately from the grill.

But the biggest warning from fire officials is perhaps the simplest.

"Just don't leave it unattended," Jester said. "That's the main thing don't leave it unattended."

A little reminder that could save a lot of lives.

 

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