Local firefighters offer safe grilling tips

GrillingThroughout Memorial Day weekend, many will fire up their grills to feed their friends and family with sizzling steaks, burgers, chicken and veggies. Having a barbecue over the holiday weekend should be a safe and fun experience for everyone, but if not done correctly could result in severe burn-related injuries or damage to property. Coatesville Firefighters, IAFF Local 3790 suggest taking the following precautions:

Maintenance and Safety First

  • Ensure that your barbecue is sound and in good working order.
  • Make sure the cooking site for the barbecue is flat and is away from sheds, fences, overhanging branches and utility lines.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves.
  • Never use a barbecue indoors or in tents. This is a dangerous fire hazard and can cause high levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep children and outdoor games away from the cooking area. Never leave a barbecue unattended.
  • Light barbecues with a long match or mechanical lighter designed for lighting barbecues. Keep all matches, lighters and barbeque lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Allow the barbecue to cool before attempting to move it.

CFFCharcoal Briquette Barbecues

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and storage. Use only sufficient charcoal to cover the base of the barbecue to a depth of about 2 inches.
  • Use only recognized charcoal starter fluid. Use lighter fluid on cold briquettes only and use the minimum quantity necessary to start the charcoal.  Adding fluid to burning or hot coals can cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries.
  • When removing the ashes from the barbecue, make sure they are cool or put them into a non-flammable container such as a metal bucket.  Water may be added to the cool ashes, remembering to stay back, away from potential hot steam.  Empty spent ashes onto bare soil – do not put ashes into a garbage can or paper bag.  House fires have been caused by hot ashes which later ignited when left near a structure or on a deck or porch.

Gas Barbecues

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  To check the gas cylinder, pipes or hoses for leaks, apply soapy water around all joints and watch for bubbles. If you find a leaky joint or have any doubt that the unit is in safe working order secure the cylinder and have it serviced by a qualified technician.
  • Open the barbecue lid before turning on the gas or lighting.
  • When you have finished cooking with a gas barbecue, turn off the propane cylinder.
  • Change gas cylinders in the open air, not in a confined space. Avoid storage of propane cylinders indoors and never in basements.

Although grilling safety might seem like an obvious thing to observe this holiday weekend, local firefighters say they frequently see what happens when folks don’t use common sense and put safety first.

“In just last 2 weeks Coatesville Firefighters have mitigated 2 Carbon Monoxide emergencies in the City that were a direct result of the improper use and maintenance of Propane and Natural Gas Fired appliances,” Michael Pawlowski, President, IAFF Local 3790, said. “Thanks to attentive residents who called 911, a timely response and thorough investigation by City Firefighters, two tragedies were averted.”

Coatesville Firefighters wish everyone a SAFE and happy holiday weekend!

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