Practice safe grilling

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

A fire in the grill cooking hot dogs and burgers is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your summer cookout memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Tinker Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention office would like to keep you and your family safe while enjoying summertime activities. 

The National Fire Protection Association reported in 2014, that 16,600 people went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. July is the peak month for grill fires. Believe it or not, gas grills contribute to a higher number of home fires overall than their charcoal counterparts. “Failing to clean the grill is the lead contributing factor for grill fires,” says Larry Tepen, Fire Protection Specialist.

Grilling safety tips:

  • Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

Remember when the grill is on:

  • As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
  • If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  • If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills:

There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.

If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.

When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Enjoy your summer activities and practice safe grilling.