Our View: Grill safety important

Published 10:31 am Monday, July 15, 2019

Fireworks season has passed and neighborhoods have returned to their typical quiet nature and the safety concerns surrounding the summer-fun explosives have dwindled.

However, one concern remains as the rain begins to die down, the heat dials up and families are spending more time outdoors.

Summertime brings concerns about outdoor fires that can damage land and property, threaten wildlife and more.

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Outdoor fires are often caused by grilling, campfires, fireworks and smoking.

In fact, July is the peak month for fires and injuries, including burns, caused by grills.

The National Fire Protection Association shares these tips to reduce the risk of fires or injuries caused by grilling this summer:

— Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

— Place grills well away from homes and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

— Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

— Keep grills clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.

— Never leave a grill unattended.

— Always make sure gas grill lids are up before lighting.

— If using a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid and never any other flammable liquids. Keep charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from heat sources. When finished, let the coals completely cool before disposing of in a metal container.

— If using a propane grill, 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 and there is no flame, turn off the grill and the gas tanks. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and the call the fire department.

According to the NFPA, more than 16,000 people annually are treated for grill-related injuries.

In 2013-2017, fire departments went to an annual average of 10,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 4,500 structure fires and 5,700 outside or unclassified fires.

These fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries and $123 million in direct property damage.

Practice caution while enjoying a summertime favorite and you can avoid similar injuries and damages.