Memorial Day weekend signals the official start of summer, one of the most popular times to fire-up the grill to make backyard cuisines. However, the beginning of summer also signals the beginning of wildfire season. Help keep your home and neighborhood safe by keeping the following tips from the HPBA (Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association) and the Propane Education & Research Council in mind.
Prepare Your Home and Grill
- Cut back your grass and move burnable materials. Keep grass, wood, bush, plants and other materials at least 10 feet away from propane tanks and cylinders. This includes tanks installed in your grill and tanks you are storing.
- Do not store propane tanks and cylinders inside a home, shed, garage or any other building.
- Read the manual for your propane tank and grill.
- Only use grills outside and in a well-ventilated area. If you grill indoors, there is a chance carbon monoxide could accumulate and prove fatal to those in the building.
- Make sure the grill is stable. When grills are unstable or placed on uneven surfaces they may fall or tip over unexpectedly, which can cause a fire.
- Replace expired or damaged tanks. This includes tanks that have holes, rust spots or cracks.
- Use a grill mat. Use a heat-resistance grill mat under a gas or charcoal grill to prevent fires caused by hot embers or drippings.
- Keep an extinguisher nearby. When grilling, keep a fire extinguisher nearby. If you do not have an extinguisher, keep baking soda, a bucket of garden sand or a garden hose close.
- Outdoor fire prevention is quick, easy and worth the effort so you do not have to deal with the consequences of a full-blown, damaging blaze.
[Photo: Robert S. Donovan]