Grillers are reminded to keep safety on the menu this summer

July 10, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |

HAGERSTOWN — The Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging people to use caution when they grill this summer.

State Fire Marshal’s Office spokesman Bruce D. Bouch said Thursday that grilling fires often occur the day after a cookout when people put the remnants of charcoal in a paper or plastic bag.

The day-old briquettes sometimes have hot embers on the inside that reignite and cause the bags to catch fire, he said. The result can be tragic if the bags are placed too close to a building.

“You just have the occasional accidents,” Bouch said. “Sometimes they burn down a portion of the house.”

To help avoid accidents, Bouch said, charcoal should be doused with water before it is left unattended. He added that people should grill a safe distance away from vinyl siding and other flammable substances to keep flames from spreading.

Bouche offered the following safety tips:

Gas grills:

n Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders should always be transported in the upright position on the floor of the vehicle with all windows open. Never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car. Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.

n Use the proper size wrench to ensure all connections are tight. Check all connections with soapy water. The appearance of bubbles indicates leaks; retighten leaking connections.

n Make sure grease is not allowed to drip on the hose or gas cylinder.

n Store the cylinder (including those attached to barbecues), outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight.

n Read thoroughly and follow manufacturer’s instructions for gas grill use. Save the instructions.

Charcoal grills:

n Use only a small amount of charcoal starter fuel. A little goes a long way. Consider using charcoal that does not require starter fuel for ignition.

n Once a fire has been started, never add starter fuel. Fire can easily follow the stream of fluid back to the container causing an explosion.

n With any outdoor cooking equipment, never be tempted to use them inside — not even in a garage with the door open or on a porch or a balcony.

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