Grilling safety urged

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While summer is the perfect time to gather with family and friends for a BBQ, the State Fire Marshal's Office (SFMO) warns that it is also the peak season for outdoor grilling fires. The SFMO reminds outdoor cooks to make fire safety a priority as they start up the grill this summer.

From 2011-2015, Tennessee fire departments responded to 206 fires involving grills, hibachis or barbeques. Those fires resulted in four civilian injuries, four firefighter injuries and $6.2 million in property damage, according to the Tennessee Fire Incident Reporting System (TFIRS).

Utilize these additional tips to make your summer cookouts memorable for the right reasons:

General Grilling Tips

· Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a grill.

· Keep children and pets away from the grill area.

· Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced. Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.

· 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.

Propane Grills

· Before using a gas 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.

Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. To check for leaks: Turn the propane tank on. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).

Once you've determined your grill has a gas leak by smell or by administering the soapy bubble test and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and burners. If the leak stops at that point, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak doesn't stop, call the fire department immediately.

If you smell gas while cooking, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Do not overfill the propane tank.

Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.

Charcoal Grills

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, lighters, and lighter fluid away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately.

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.

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