Grill safety: Don't let your holiday cookout go up in smoke

Consumer Reports News: July 01, 2011 03:49 PM

Each year grill fires result in an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries and $37 million in property loss. One-third of the fires start on patios, terraces, screened-in porches or courtyards and another 24 percent start on exterior balconies and unenclosed porches. That’s why every July, the peak month for grill-related fires, the National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration issue safety reminders.

Before you start cooking, make sure the grill is clean. Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires. Here are some safety tips from the NFPA, USFA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  • Never use a grill indoors due to carbon monoxide (CO) and fire hazards.

  • Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that will burn.

  • Always follow the instructions that accompany the grill.

  • Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby.

  • Never leave a grill unattended.

  • If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature.

  • If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

  • Keep children away from the grill. The outside surface of the grill can get hot and cause burns when touched.

  • Make sure there are no lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames near a leaking grill.

  • Better yet, make sure your grill isn't leaking.

Mary H.J. Farrell

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