Safety tips before firing up the barbecue grill

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As the weather heats up in Connecticut, outdoor grilling season begins. Before you fire up your grill, News 8 spoke with Hamden firefighters to help keep you and your family safe around the grill.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are about 8,900 house fires annually across the United States that are started by grills. In Hamden, firefighters say they respond to abut half a dozen fires caused by grills each year.

Firefighter and Paramedic Ed Hilbert enjoys the season, and is looking forward to cooking outdoors.

“Steaks, chicken, burgers, hot dogs. So we do enjoy, like to grill quite a bit during the summertime so it is a nice change of pace from the winter meals.”

Brian Dolan is Hamden’s Fire Marshal. He says the placement of the grill is key to keeping our home protected form the flames.

We recommend a minimum of ten feet away from any house. If you are going to use them on a deck, be sure they’re pulled away from any railings, or the side of the deck. Have some clearance around.

Before using a propane or gas grill, makce sure you check the lines before firing it up.

Related Content: More Grilling Safety Tips from News 8

“Check your connections,” Dolan said. “Make sure their tight, there’s no leaks. If you are, once you are cooking and you do smell gas there is a potential leak. You should immediately stop using the grill.”

Dolan says maintenance is also important.

“You should always clean these. Not only the grates, but also the trays underneath. Check for any grease buildup so you won’t get the flare up fires.”

Using a charcoal grill? Make sure you dispose of the coals properly. Dolan recommends putting coals into a metal container.

“Put them in a metal container. You know, a lot of times we’re getting fires where people are taking the coals thinking they cooled down after a couple hours putting them in a plastic trash can. A couple hours later we’re going there for the house fire.”

The most important tip is to never leave a grill unattended. If there is a problem, Dolan says don’t wait until it’s too late to call for help.

“If you do have a grill fire, and it is getting out of control and beyond your scope, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. We do’t want someone to take unnecessary risks trying to put the fire out themselves.”

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