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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

USFA: US Fire Administration offers grill, fire pit safety tips

Grilling season means more than just summertime fun. It also means fire dangers.

Each year, about 3,800 Americans are injured by charcoal or gas grill fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. An estimated 5,700 grill fires happen each year in the U.S. More than half of those, 57 percent, happen between May and August.

To help combat the problem the USFA has some tips to keep in mind when grilling or tending to a fire pit:
  • Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors
  • Grills should be kept away from siding, deck railing and should not be placed under eaves or overhanging branches
  • Grills should be kept away from where lawn games are being played
  • Children and pets should be kept away from grills. A 3-foot safety zone is recommended
  • Use grilling tools with long handles
  • Clean grease and fat buildup in grill trays
  • For charcoal grills, buy the proper type of starter fluid and store it in a safe place
  • Never add starter fluid after charcoal or kindling has been ignited
  • For gas grills, check cylinder hose before the first use of the season
  • Call 911 if you smell gas while cooking
  • Use only equipment bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Follow manufacturers' instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • For fire pits, keep flammable material and fluids away while in use.
  • Don't use gasoline, alcohol, diesel or similar fluids to light or relight fires
  • Treat fire pit fires like you would any open fire
  • Don't allow children near a fire pit
  • Don't wear flammable or loose-fitting clothing like nylon near a fire pit
  • Don't burn trash, leaves, paper, cardboard or plywood in a fire pit. Seasoned hardwood only is suggested.
  • Keep the lid to a fire pit nearby so it can be used to extinguish the fire
  • Before lighting a fire pit fire, check the wind direction
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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