Outdoor Grilling Safety
By PIO Doug Alexander
June 6, 2017

With warmer weather approaching, families across Maryland will venture outside – either to the beach, the mountains or maybe just to their backyard. Increased outdoor activities also result in an increase of outdoor fire risks, therefore, the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company and the Office of the State Fire Marshal are providing a few common sense tips that will help Marylanders enjoy a safe outdoor grilling season.

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Gas Grills:

• Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders should always be transported in the upright position on the floor of the vehicle with all windows open. Never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car and never allow the cylinder to slide around in the bed of a pickup truck. Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.

• Ensure all grill connections are tight. Check all connections with soapy water. The appearance of bubbles indicates leaks, re-tighten leaking connections.

• Make sure grease is not allowed to drip onto the hose or gas cylinder.

• Store the cylinder (including those attached to barbecues), outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight.

• Read thoroughly and follow manufacturer's instructions for gas grill use. Save the instructions!

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Charcoal Grills:

• Use only a small amount of charcoal starter fuel. A little goes a long way! Consider using charcoal that does not require starter fuel for ignition.

• Once a fire has been started, never add more starter fuel! Fire can easily follow the stream of fluid back to the container causing an explosion and potential serious bodily harm.

• Use great caution in disposing of ashes. Ashes may contain live coals that can start a fire if not disposed of properly. The safest method is to wet the ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the barbecue. Be sure to store unused charcoal in a cool dry place away from moisture, direct sunlight and external heat sources.

With any outdoor cooking equipment, never be tempted to use them inside – not even in a garage with the door open or on a porch or a balcony. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which even in small quantities can cause injury or death. LPG cylinders that develop a leak indoors can cause an explosion with devastating results. It is best, and in some cases required, to keep open flame cooking devices at least 20 feet from a building when in use.