When cooking outside, you should verify that your cooking equipment and propane tanks are in good working order. Check the tanks for gas leaks by using a soapy solution. We advise everyone to have a working fire extinguisher.
Make sure all ignition sources, such as cooking equipment, smoking material, etc., are under control and far enough away from combustibles, vegetation, etc. Small ignition sources can smolder for hours after being discarded, even though you might believe them to be extinguished. These smoldering items can ignite into an open flame.
USFA's National Fire Data Center estimates that yearly outside cooking grills cause more than 6,000 fires, over 5 fatalities, more than 170 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Gas grills alone cause over 2,700 fires, 80 injuries, and $11 million dollars damage. Most of the gas grill fires and explosions were caused by gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks.
- Designate the grilling area a "No Play Zone" keeping kids and pets well away until grill equipment is completely cool.
- Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - are not blocked.
- Do not overfill the propane tank.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
- Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced.
- Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.