Everyone loves a cookout.
However, cookouts can lead to tragedy if they are not properly handled.
Here are some safety tips for a happy and safe cookout season:
- Never use gasoline to start a fire - it is much too dangerous to use on grills.
- Use charcoal lighter fluid only before the fire is lit. If you try to make a fire bigger by adding more fluid, the heat from the coals may ignite the stream of fuel and burn back into the can, causing it to explode in your hands.
- Try using a U.L. approved electrical starter in place of lighter fluid.
- Never use a grill on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is one of the biggest dangers with grills. It is unsafe and against the law.
- Place grills away from structures so they will not tip over or ignite objects above them.
- Keep a garden hose or a portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire gets out of control.
- Never bring a grill into the home. The carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous, even deadly, in an enclosed space.
- Keep children and pets away from fires and grills. It only takes a second for curiosity to cause a serious burn.
- Though coals may appear to be cool, always soak them with water. Coals retain enough heat to reignite for days after the fire.
- If your bag of charcoal gets wet, leave it in a well ventilated area away from the house. During the drying process spontaneous ignition can occur in confined areas.
With a little planning on everyone's part, this can be a safe summer cookout season for all of us.
For more information on this or other safety issues, please contact the Public Affairs and Life Safety Education Section at 703-246-3801 or TTY 711.