Safety warnings are issued for Memorial Day cooking hazards

May 28, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

Warm weather and a long Memorial Day weekend mean it's time for the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office to worry about the increase in outdoor fire hazards, Deputy State Fire Marshal Faron Taylor said.

Taylor said Memorial Day weekend is regarded as the kickoff for the outdoor recreation season, which brings with it an increased risk of fires.

"One thing Memorial Day brings, especially with college gradations, is more families begin outdoor activities in earnest," Taylor said. "We're spending a lot more time outside, so the fire dangers increase."


Taylor said a chief cause of fires and fire-related injuries is the misuse of outdoor cooking equipment.

"A lot of it is unfamiliarity with the equipment rather than equipment malfunction," Taylor said. "Read the instructions."

The fire marshal's office issued the following safety tips:

Outdoor cooking for gas grills

  • Liquefied petroleum gas cylinders should always be transported in the upright position on the floor of a vehicle with all windows open. Never transport them in the trunk of a car.

  • Make sure all connections are tight.

  • Make sure grease does not drip onto the hose or gas cylinder.

  • Store the cylinder out of direct sunlight.

Outdoor cooking for charcoal grills

  • Use only a small amount of starter fuel.

  • Once a fire has been started, never add more starter fuel because of the risk of explosion.

  • Use caution when disposing of ashes.


The fire marshal's office said the use of legal and illegal fireworks is a concern during the months following Memorial Day. It offered the following suggestions related to fireworks:

  • Plan to attend one of hundreds of licensed fireworks displays held annually in Maryland.

  • Use only legal fireworks, depending on the laws in each county, such as snap 'n pops, party poppers, black snakes, gold-labeled sparklers and ground-based sparkling devices.

  • Allow children to use fireworks only under close adult supervision.

  • Never mix alcohol use with fireworks.
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