The Maine Emergency Management Agency is reminding grillers to be safe using those grills this time of year.  Right now we use it often to keep it a little cooler indoors and enjoy our favorite summer meals.

There are some simple things you can do to keep you and your family safe while using our favorite way to cook summertime foods.

The National Fire Protection Association offers these tips:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill

Along with these tips, are a few more to ensure a safe grilling experience considering the type of grill you are using:

Propane

Before you use your grill, check for leaks:

  • Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
  • Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
    Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.  Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see). If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
    If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.

When the grill is on, be aware of leaks:

  • As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
    If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.  If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately.
  • Do not move the grill.

Charcoal

Ways to get the charcoal ready to use:

  • Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.  Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.

When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

For more information, check out the National Fire Prevention Association website.