Health & Safety

June 5, 2014

Summer grilling safety tips

Staff Sgt. Candice C. Page
Headquarter Air Combat Command

LANGLEY AFB, Va. —  Good food and great conversation are staples of a summer barbeque, but before firing up the grill Airmen and their families should be aware of some proper grilling techniques to help prevent their summer days from going up in flames.

According to the National Fire Protection Association in 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,800 homes and outside fires. These 8,800 fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $96 million in direct property damage.

“For grillers there are two schools of thought for quality of cooking, some are dedicated to charcoal and some to gas, but no matter which you prefer, using safety is recommended,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Cinq-Mars, 633rd Air Base Wing fire inspector. “Never use a grill indoors. Grills should be used outdoors and a reasonable distance from any structure.”

Below are some safety tips that the 633rd Fire and Emergency Service Flight provided to keep families safe all summer.

Gas Grill Safety:

– Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks

– Check your propane container for dents, damage, rust or leaks

– Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can cause leaks

– Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill

– Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, carport, on a porch or under a surface that can catch fire

– Keep the top open when lighting the grill

– When transporting your propane container keep your vehicle well ventilated with the valve closed and plugged or capped. Do not leave container unattended in vehicle and keep container in a upright position

“Make sure the container and propane is purchased from a reputable source,” Airman 1st Class Tylor Domino, 633rd Air Base Wing firefighter said.

Charcoal Grill safety:

– Never use gasoline to start a fire

– Use charcoal lighter fluid only before the fire is lit

– Use a U.L. approved electrical starter in place of lighter fluid

– Never use grill on condo or apartment balconies

– Keep a garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby

– Keep children and pets away from fires and grills

“If you are looking at free burning wood or charcoal and the grill gets tipped over the charcoal or wood that goes onto the grass can cause a brush fire,” Domino said. “Have commonsense when [grilling] and monitor what you are doing.”

If you have any questions regarding fire safety, contact your installations fire prevention office




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