Fourth of July celebrations are coming up, which means the grills will be cranking all day for parties and get-togethers with friends and family. But grill fires on July 4th and throughout the summer aren’t out of the ordinary.
“Throughout the summer, yeah. It’s very common,” Corning Firefighter Chad Willis said.
The New York Propane Gas Association listed precautions people can take to be safe.
For Fourth of July parties where kids are present, it’s recommended the grill be designated a “no play zone” to keep children away from it. It’s also recommended that proper ventilation is practiced around the grill, and that the grill is fired up safely and responsibly.
The Corning Fire Department said whenever the grill’s not in use to turn off the propane tank and turn the dials off on the grill itself for extra safety. The tank should not be left on all the time. It’s also recommended that the grill be pulled away from a building as far as it can go.
Certain marinades can be flammable due to some of the oils, so keeping an extra eye on the grill is recommended when there’s oily or extra-marinated food on it.
In the event of a grill fire, immediately try and isolate it.
“Close the lid. Pull it away from any exposures,” Willis said. “Get it away from the garage, get it away from the house.”
Water should be used cautiously when putting out a grill fire, because in certain cases it can aggravate it.
“Obviously get a dry chemical fire extinguisher. You don’t want to use water in some cases depending on the marinade,” Willis said. “Some of the marinade, it’s kind of like dealing with an oil or grease fire. At that point obviously, call 911 just as a precautio-"
The following are a list of grill safety guidelines recommended by the New York Propane Gas Association:
- Always keep the lid open when lighting your grill. Don't close it until you are sure the grill is lit.
- Keep the grill in a well-ventilated outdoor area, at least ten feet away from the house—and at least three feet away from trees and shrubs.
- Never cover the bottom of the grill with foil - it can restrict air circulation.
- Always use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright position.
- After filling or exchanging a cylinder, take it home immediately. While transporting the cylinder, keep your vehicle ventilated and the valve closed or capped. Do not leave the cylinder in your vehicle.
Firing Up The Grill Safely
- Never use matches or lighters to check for leaks. And never use starter fluid with propane grills.
- Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder, and keep all flammable materials away from the grill.
- If the grill does not ignite within ten seconds, turn off the gas, keep the lid open and wait five minutes before trying again. If the igniter fails to light the grill after two or three tries, turn off the gas and replace the igniter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Regularly check the tubes that lead into the burner for blockage from insects or food grease.
- Never attempt to repair, clean or clear blockages on a hot grill.
General Safety Tips
- Always have one person in charge of the fire at all times. Never leave a hot grill unattended.
- Never attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See a propane gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person. Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.
- If you smell gas and you are able to, safely turn off the cylinder valve, turning it to the right (clockwise). Immediately leave the area and call 911 or your local fire department. Before you use the grill again, have a qualified service technician inspect your cylinder.