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ASK THE EXPERTS

Fire marshal offers tips for safe grilling

POSTED: June 30, 2010 4:00 a.m.

If hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs and chicken are on the menu for this weekend’s barbecue, Dawson County Emergency Services says use caution when grilling.

  

“U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 7,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues each year during 2003 to 2006,” said Dawson County Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal Tim Satterfield.

  

Whether using charcoal or propane, Satterfield said a successful barbecue begins with commonsense.

  

“Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors,” he said.

  

The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Children and pets should not be allowed near a grill.

  

He also cautions barbecuers to keep grills clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill and in trays below the grill.

  

“Never leave your grill unattended,” Satterfield said.

  

Tips from the fire marshal:

  

Charcoal grills

  

• There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.

  

• If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

  

• Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

  

•  There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.

  

• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

  

Propane grills

  

• Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.

  

• Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles.

  

• If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill.

  

• If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

  

• If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

  

• If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.

  

• Do not move the grill.

 

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