Don’t get burned — Barbecue safety tips

by Tech. Sgt. Jason Lewis
886th Civil Engineer Squadro

The National Fire Protection Association and Ramstein KMC Fire Department remind grilling enthusiasts and basic backyard cooks to remember grilling safety as the outdoor cooking season heats up.

On average, U.S. fire departments respond to 7,900 home fires annually involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, causing 120 reported injuries and $80 million in property damage. Before you step out on your back patio to begin, there are a few steps you must take to ensure your propane or charcoal barbecue grill is in safe, good working order.

Fire up the grill, not the deck!

• Propane and charcoal barbecue grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
• Position grills well away from siding, deck railing, trees, leaves, brush and overhanging foliage.
• Do not place the grill in high-traffic areas; keep them in a safe distance from lawn games and play areas.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
• Use long-handled grilling tools to give the cook plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
• Periodically, remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
• Set the grill on stable ground to keep it from toppling over.

Charcoal Grills

• Purchase the proper starter fluid and store it out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
• Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.
• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container and remember to store your charcoal in a cool, dry place to keep it from getting wet.

Propane grills

Check the propane cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles. If you determine your grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test and there is no flame, follow the listed steps:
• Turn off the propane tank and grill.
• If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
• If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department (112). Do not attempt to move the grill.

For more information, call the KMC fire prevention office at 480-5940. On Landstuhl, Rhine Ordnance Barracks or Pulaski, call the Army fire prevention office at 493-4500. In case of emergency, dial 112.

BBQ safety