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Grilling today? Know these BBQ safety tips

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(Toledo News Now) -

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the kickoff of summer. This year, Ohio's Association of Professional Fire Fighters advises that before firing up your grill, take a few moments to ensure you're cooking safely.

"Simple safety precautions can keep grilling fun and with the right recipe, an enjoyable time for the entire family," said OAPFF President Mark Sanders.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills have been involved in an annual average of 7,100 house fires from 2006-2010, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,200 house fires. A total of 28 percent of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio. Also, flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in almost half of the home outdoor grill fires.

Gas Grill Safety Tips

Liquid petroleum (LP) gas or propane used in gas grills, is highly flammable. Each year, about 30 people are injured as a result of gas grill fires and explosions. Many of these fires and explosions occur when cooks first use a grill that has been left idle for a period of time, or just after refilling and reattaching the grill's gas container.

To reduce the risk of fire or explosion, Ohioans should routinely perform the following safety checks:

-Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease.

-Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.

-Move gas hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease. If you can't move the hoses, install a heat shield to protect them.

-Replace scratched or nicked connectors, which can eventually leak gas.

-Check for gas leaks following the manufacturer's instructions, if you smell gas or when you reconnect the grill to the LP gas container. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't try to light the grill until the leak is fixed.

-Keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill.

-Never use a grill indoors. Use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or building. Do not use the grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.

-Do not attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See an LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.

-Always follow the manufacturer's instructions that accompany the grill.

Consumers should use caution when storing LP gas containers. Always keep containers upright. Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill, or indoors. Never store or use flammable liquids, like gasoline, near the grill.

To avoid accidents while transporting LP gas containers, consumers should transport the container in a secure, upright position. Never keep a filled container in a hot car or car trunk; heat will cause the gas pressure to increase, which may open the relief valve and allow gas to escape.

Charcoal Grill Safety Tips

Charcoal produces carbon monoxide (CO) when it is burned. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed environments. Each year, about 30 people die and 100 are injured as a result of CO fumes from charcoal grills and hibachis used inside.

To reduce these CO poisonings, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is offering the following safety tips:

-Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.

-Since charcoal produces CO fumes until the charcoal is completely extinguished, do not store the grill indoors with freshly used coals.

-Make sure coals are completely extinguished and cool before discarding them in a trash can.

"Grill fires are easily preventable. Ohio's fire fighters encourage you to be safe this summer and enjoy the season," said Sanders.

The OAPFF is comprised of more than 10,000 professional fire fighters throughout the Buckeye State. Dedicated to assisting Ohio fire fighters, the OAPFF is also committed to public safety and is a leader in fire safety statewide.

Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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