Grillmasters: Lifesaving tips from FASNY
Fri, May 15th 2015 11:40 am
Memorial Day barbecuing
With Memorial Day Weekend swiftly approaching, many people will begin
hosting backyard barbecues and using their grill for the first time in many
months. The Firemen's Association of the State of New York reminds residents to
make this favorite summertime activity a safe one by following some important
fire safety tips.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, grill fires
spike in the warm summer months. From 2007-11, U.S. fire departments responded
to an average of 8,800 home structure fires and outdoor fires involving grills,
hibachis or barbecues each year, including an average of 3,800 structure fires
and 5,000 outside fires. These 8,800 fires caused an annual average of 10
civilian deaths, 140 reported civilian injuries and $96 million in direct
"Everyone should take extra precautions to make sure that accidents
don't ruin what should be a pleasant get-together for family and friends," FASNY President Robert McConville said. "It is
extremely important, when gatherings include children, that adults establish a
kid-free zone around the grill of at least 3 feet; and never leave the grill
- Check your grill thoroughly for leaks, cracking or brittleness before
- Check the tubes leading to the burner regularly for blockages. Check
your specific grill manufacturer's instructions.
- Make sure the grill is at least 10
feet away from your house, garage or trees.
- Store and use your grill on a large, flat surface that cannot burn
(i.e., concrete or asphalt).
- Don't use grills in a garage, on a porch, deck or on top of anything
that can catch fire. Never use a propane barbecue grill on a balcony, terrace
or roof: it is both dangerous and illegal.
- Keep children away from fires and grills. It is a good idea to
establish a safety zone around the grill and monitor children to remain outside
- Before getting a propane cylinder filled, check for any damages to it.
- Never transport or store propane cylinders in the trunk of your
- Keep children away from the grill.
- Don't wear loose clothing that might catch fire.
- Use long-handled barbecue tools and/or flame-resistant mitts.
- Never use any flammable liquid other than a barbecue starter fluid to
start/freshen a fire.
- Never pour or squirt starter fluid onto an open flame. The flames can
easily flash back along the fluid's path to the container in your hands.
- Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill; they are flammable.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- When lighting your propane barbecue, make sure all the connections are
secure and open the lid and strike your match or lighter before turning on the
- Always shut off the propane fuel at the grill and at the bottle after
you have finished barbecuing. Otherwise, this will lead to fire hazards, such
as leaks and faulty regulators.
- Store your BBQ grill and propane cylinder outdoors.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the safe use, cleaning and
maintenance of your grill.
- Test your cylinder for leaks on a regular basis. When testing for
leaks, never use matches or an open flame. Use soapy water or a leak detector.
- Store your cylinder away from heat and insert a safety plug on the
- Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning and storing instructions that
accompany the grill.
- Keep your grill clean and free of grease buildup that may lead to a
- Never store liquid or pressurized fuels inside your home and/or near
any possible sources of flame.
In Case of a Barbecue Fire:
- For propane grills, turn off the burners. For charcoal grills, close
the grill lid. Disconnect the power to electric grills.
- For propane grills, if you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it
- If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone, evacuate the area and
call the fire department.
- If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety
or endangers property, always call the fire department.
- Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only
cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.
Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the
State of New York represents the interests of 92,000 volunteer firefighters and
emergency medical personnel in New York. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.