Safe Grilling This Memorial Day

Hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks on the grill is a Memorial Day tradition in America. But pulling out that grill for the first time may lead to unfortunate accidents.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 5,000 outdoor and structure fires last year due to propane and charcoal grills.

Matt McMahon from the Greenville fire department says there are a couple things to look out for. If using a propane grill, make sure you check the gas lines and the connections for any leaks. McMahon recommends grills be ten feet away from combustible objects, like houses and bushes.

One of the most common incidents are grease fires. McMahon says the solution is simple. "Best thing to do with that is to shut the grill and let it darken itself down and usually the smoke will choke the fire down."

McMahon says if you have small children at your gathering or picnic, designate a "no--play" zone to eliminate further injury.

Here are some more safety tips:

Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease.

Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.

Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.

Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can't move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.

Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas. Check for gas leaks, following the manufacturer's instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container.

If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed. Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill.

Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or any building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.

Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions that accompany the grill.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on May 20, 2009 at 07:19 AM
    Firefighter, thank you for the concerns, and the only way you could possibly have my business is if you are stationed at the Outer Banks, where me, my wife, and our families will be at my in-laws house grillin on some fish(not sure what kind yet) and shrimp. I can't wait until Thursday afternoon. We both have friday and monday off, which makes it even better. Can't wait to go offshore and go out on the beach, maybe get some waves to if they are big enough. It is going to be a blast and I can already tell. I am so stoked about this.
  • by FF/EMT-I Location: ENC on May 20, 2009 at 03:19 AM
    As a career firefighter, I hope everyone has a great memorial day weekend. Also, BE CAREFUL GRILLING, as we DO NOT want your business. I am on shift Monday, and I would prefer to lounge around. The last thing I want to do is see a family displaced, due to a propane or gas grill fire. FTM-PTB
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