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Grilling Time

Marilu Trainor

It’s grilling time! Seven out of 10 adults own a grill, smoker, or BBQ. Enjoy those tasty meals safely and avoid a disaster by adhering to a few safety tips from the Goodyear Fire Department.

The Stats

* Between 2014 and 2018, grills, hibachis, smokers, and barbeques accounted for 10,600 home fires annually, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).

* During these years, 19,700 people were sent to the hospital with burn injuries, and 9,500 of those injuries were thermal burns. Sadly, these incidents resulted in 10 deaths.

* Grilling incidents have followed a predictable pattern, with most incidents occurring in the month of July (18%), followed by June (15%), May (13%), and August (12%).

Grill Maintenance and Safety

The grill not being cleaned regularly after use resulted in 29% of the fires, according to the NFPA.

When preparing to use your gas grill, do the following:

* Grill should be a minimum of three feet away from all combustibles.

* Grill surface is clean.

* Check all connections are tight and check the gas line.

* Keep decorations away from your grill.

* Keep a spray bottle of water handy.

* Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill.

* Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed.

* Never leave a grill unattended.

Check for Gas Leaks

“The most common cause of outside gas grill fires are leaks and breaks in the line,” said Mario Santos, captain/paramedic with the Goodyear Fire Department. “Those leaks accounted for 22% of the fires. You can easily check the gas line annually by using a spray bottle that is half water and half liquid soap. Turn all control knobs to the grill off and turn on the gas supply to the grill to charge the system. Then spray the soap mixture onto the gas line and regulator and look for any bubbles. If you smell gas, quickly turn off the gas and do not use the grill until it can be professionally serviced.”

* 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.

* Do not move the grill.

* If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off, and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.

The fire department also cautions if you use an external propane tank, inspect it for rust, dents, or other external damage. They recommend repeating the same gas bubble procedure each time the cylinder is refilled or replaced.

If you use a BBQ with charcoal briquettes, it is recommended to allow the coals to cool completely for 48 hours before disposing of them.

Happy grilling!