House Fires Caused by Outdoor Grills
It is officially summertime and that means grilling season has hit Fairfield County! Before you grill, however, take caution. Nearly 9,000 Americans get injured due to the grill each year, the majority of which are caused by user error. Follow these tips to keep your gathering fun and incident free.
- Keep your grill AT LEAST 10 feet away from your house. This includes areas with overhangs such as porches. A 'certain somebody' in our office learned the hard way that vinyl siding near a barbecue melts quite easily. Save your siding and move that grill far away!
- Clean your grill each time. Open up that fancy grill cleaning set that you received at last year's 'white elephant' and have some fun! Scrub that grill clean each time that it is used and remove the grease that can be a major cause of flare ups.
- Check for gas leaks. Here's a cool trick on how to check. Make a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.
- Keep the area clear. Keep your patio furniture, pillows, party lights and hanging baskets away from your grill, as they are highly combustible.
- Keep a spray bottle of water handy. That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. And, as a bonus, you can still eat your burger even after you've sprayed the flames out!
- Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. Quickly extinguishing the fire will save your home and safety. Here's the catch, though - make sure that you know how to use it!
- Don't turn on the gas unless your grill lid is open! Keeping the lid closed causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face. And a fireball in the face almost always ruins the barbecue.
- Don't leave a grill unattended. Grilling is serious business. Fires double in size every minute. You cannot just put the steaks on the grill and walk away to watch the game. Man your post at all times and keep an eye on that grill!
- Don't overload your grill with fatty meats. If too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.
- Don't use a grill indoors. I'm sure this goes without saying. Even a small little propane grill inside can cause a big fire as well as produce enough carbon monoxide to threaten the health of your family and kids. Keep grills outdoors where they can vent in the fresh air.
Keep it safe! Although it may make a good story someday, having a visit from the Fire Department is never a fun way to end you holiday!