NASHVILLE, TN – It is summer in Tennessee and that means it's grilling time for many residents. Although, outdoor cooking is a long-cherished tradition for most families, it also increases the possibility of fire-related incidents and injuries. Gas grills constitute a higher risk, having been involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires in 2007-2011, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,400 home fires. The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is urging outdoor cooks to keep fire safety in mind as they fire up the grill this summer and make sure the only thing going up in smoke is dinner.
“We strongly encourage Tennesseans to practice safety when grilling this summer,” State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak said. “Remember to place your grill well away from siding, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches and never leave a grill unattended.”
According to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System (TFIRS), fire departments responded to more than 180 fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues from 2009-2013. These fires caused two civilian injuries, three firefighter injuries and $5,147,312 in direct property damage.
To help keep your summer cookouts fire safe, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office offers the following great grilling tips:
- Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - are not blocked.
- Do not overfill the propane tank.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
- Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced.
- Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.
Following the guidelines above and keeping safety your main priority while grilling can help make your summer cookout memorable for the right reasons.