With COVID-19 continuing to place limitations on social activities and engagements, people may increasingly turn to grilling, fire pits, and other at-home outdoor activities this summer, which presents an increased risk of associated fires. Here are five key reminders and guidelines for safely enjoying these activities:
Make sure your gas grill is working properly
- Leaks or breaks are primarily a problem with gas grills. Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
- If your grill has a gas leak detected by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the 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 do not move it. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.
Never leave equipment unattended
- Make sure to closely monitor food cooking on the grill.
- Turn the grill off promptly when you’re done cooking, and let it cool completely before returning it to its original location.
- For campfires, fire pits, and chimineas, always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby, and make sure the fire is completely out before going to sleep or leaving the area.
Keep equipment a safe distance from things that can burn
- Place your grill well away (at least 3 feet) from anything that can burn, including deck railings and overhanging branches; also keep them out from under eaves.
- Keep portable grills a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets well away from any type of equipment in use.
- In areas where campfires are permitted, they must be at least 25 feet away from any structure and anything that can burn. Also make sure to clear away dry leaves and sticks, overhanging low branches and shrubs.
Use fuel and fire starters properly
- If you use a starter fluid to ignite charcoals, 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.
- Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids on firepits, chimineas, or campfires.
- For electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire, make sure the extension cord you are using is designed for outdoor use.
If a fire breaks out, call the fire department
- For any type of outdoor fire that can’t be quickly and effectively extinguished, call the fire department immediately for assistance.
While outdoor, fuel-based equipment like grills, fire pits, and campfires do present potential fire hazards, by following basic precautions and guidelines, these risks can be minimized.