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Grill smarter, safer this Memorial Day weekend | Home & Garden

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Grill smarter, safer this Memorial Day weekend
Home & Garden
Grill smarter, safer this Memorial Day weekend

PINE BLUFF, Ark. -- Memorial Day weekend is just days away, and the traditional start of summer fun will begin. But fun and joyous occasions are all too frequently turned into tragedy with accidental injuries and fire. Sadly, many of these tragedies could have been avoided if very basic safety tips were followed.

This Memorial Day weekend, residential and community swimming pools will be opening and many grills will be ignited. The men and women of Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services (PBFES) want to keep you safe from the perils of fire and injury, and remind you to keep these basic safety tips in mind as you venture out this weekend and for the remainder of the summer.

Every summer, people are seriously injured by grill fires or explosions caused by outdoor grilling. Preventing these accidents is easy by following a few easy, but important precautions. To avoid grilling accidents, whether using a gas or a charcoal grill, PBFES recommends taking the following safety precautions:

• Never use a grill indoors, in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire. Always use a grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building.

• Place your grill in an open area, where it can stand securely on a flat, level surface away from fences, mulch, shrubbery or other objects that could ignite from a sudden flare-up.

• Keep kids and pets away from the grill at all times.

• Keep a fire extinguisher or water nearby to douse an out-of-control flame.

• Keep flammable liquids (like gasoline or kerosene) away from the grill when in use.

• Protect yourself when grilling by wearing a heavy apron and an oven mitt that covers your forearm. If you get burned, run cool (not cold) water over the burn for 10 to 15 minutes.

• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your grill.


If your grill hasn’t been used in more than a month:

• Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage. Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.

• Make sure gas hoses are as far away from hot surfaces as possible, including areas where grease could drip on them. If you are unable to move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.

• Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.


Every time you change gas containers:

• Check for gas leaks if you smell gas or when you reattach the gas container. To check for leaks, put soapy water on hoses and connections and watch for bubbles. If you detect a leak, turn off the grill immediately, and do not light the grill until the leak is fixed.

• Always keep lighted cigarettes, matches or open flames away from a leaking grill.

• Do not attempt to repair a malfunctioning grill yourself. Always use a qualified appliance repair person.

• If you are using a natural gas grill, it is normal to smell a little gas when igniting. If you smell gas at any other time, call 911 immediately. As with all grills, keep children, pets, open flames and any source of sparks away from the area.


PBFES also warns that consumers should always keep gas containers upright and never store a spare gas container near the grill or indoors. Also, never store flammable liquids near the grill. When transporting gas containers, always make sure to keep the container in a secure, upright position and never keep a filled container in a hot car or trunk - heat causes the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.

If grilling with charcoal, keep in mind that charcoal produces carbon monoxide (CO) - a colorless, odorless, deadly gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed environments. About 30 people die and 100 are injured each year from exposure to CO fumes from charcoal grills. To reduce the risk of CO poisoning and fire, follow these safety tips:

• Never burn charcoal inside homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Even if ventilation is provided, charcoal should never be burned indoors.

• Never add lighter or starter fluid to flames or hot coals, which can cause a dangerous flame. Never use gasoline or kerosene with charcoal.

• Do not store a grill indoors - even in a garage – unless coals are completely cooled. Charcoal produces CO fumes until it is completely extinguished.

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