Observe grilling safety

Friday, May 24, 2013

As Memorial Day Weekend, the official start of the summer grilling season arrives, we remind outdoor cooks not to forget about grill fire safety as the peak months for grill fires appear. People with gas grills should take extra precautions.

Although gas grills are used approximately one-and-a-half times more often than charcoal grills, they were involved in five times as many fires. The leading cause of these fires was something that could burn being located too close to the grill.

In 2012, approximately 12,000 people went to hospital emergency rooms because of thermal burns caused by grills. About one-third of the burns from gas grills happened while lighting the grill. Gasoline or lighter fluid was involved in roughly one-quarter of charcoal or wood grill burns.

Children under five accounted for roughly one-quarter of thermal grill burns. Most of these burns occurred when the child bumped or touched the grill.

Use propane and charcoal grills in outdoor areas only, and make sure the grill is located well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Keep children and pets away from the grill area, and use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames. Never leave the grill unattended, and remove grease or fat build up from the grills and in trays below the grill so it cannot ignite.

If you smell gas at any point while cooking, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department.

Never store propane gas tanks in buildings or garages.

Be safe and enjoy Iowa's grilling seasons!