This is a news release from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department published verbatim.
Going to do a little cooking on the grill this Memorial Day Weekend? Fairfax County Fire and Rescue would like to remind all residents about grilling safely. Here are some safety tips for a happy and safe cookout experience:
- Never leave your grill unattended or place combustibles too close to grill. These are the two leading causes for charcoal grill home fires.
- Use charcoal lighter fluid only before the fire is lit. If you try to make a fire bigger by adding more fluid, the heat from the coals may ignite the stream of fuel and burn back into the can, causing it to explode in your hands.
- Never use gasoline to start a fire – it is much too dangerous to use on grills.
- Try using a U.L. approved electrical starter in place of lighter fluid.
- Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.
- Place grills away from structures so they will not tip over or ignite objects above them.
- Keep a garden hose or a portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire gets out of control.
- Never bring a grill into the home. The carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous, even deadly, in an enclosed space.
- Keep children and pets away from fires and grills. Declare a three foot “safe zone” around the grill. It only takes a second for curiosity to cause a serious burn.
- Though coals may appear to be cool, always soak them with water. Coals retain enough heat to reignite for days after the fire.
- Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
- If your bag of charcoal gets wet, leave it in a well ventilated area away from the house. During the drying process spontaneous ignition can occur in confined areas.