WASHINGTON, D.C. – Summer officially kicks off this weekend and millions of Americans will celebrate with a cookout. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to check their grills and “fire it up safely” to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Before lighting the grill, do a safety check.
- Has your grill been recalled? Check SaferProducts.gov. If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.
- Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.
- Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.
- Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner’s manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.
Once the safety check is complete, make sure to operate the grill as safely as possible.
- Use grills outside only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that will burn. Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning that could result in injury or death. An estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010. While almost all of the injuries were burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries were related to carbon monoxide. There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces.
- Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
- Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
- Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.