(7/10/12) - The summer months are a time when families enjoy doing a variety of activities outdoors; however, it's also when barbecue grills can cause devastating residential fires and serious injuries to children. According to the United States Fire Administration, each year almost 5,000 Americans are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires.
Statistics show the majority of grill fires on residential properties occur in the four months of May through August.
Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal urges parents to practice these safety tips recommended by the United States Fire Administration to reduce the risk of a residential fire or a trip to the emergency room and ensure this summer is a safe one for your family.
• Only use the grill outdoors, positioning the grill well away from siding, deck railings, out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
• Keep children, pets, and lawn games away from the grill area by declaring a three-foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
• Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because flames can flashback up into the container and explode.
• Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.
• When cooking food, use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited when the grill is hot.
• 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.
• If you smell gas while cooking on a propane gas grill, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
• Never store propane cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
• Sunscreen is flammable. Do not apply aerosol sunscreen near a grill or open flame.
• Never use gas to start a fire.
For more information about summer fire safety, call Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal at (843) 777-5021 to speak to an Injury Prevention Specialist or visit www.McLeodSafeKids.org.
Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal, led by McLeod Health, works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading cause of death in children 14 and under. Safe Kids Pee Dee/ Coastal is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by the McLeod Health Foundation.