Hey Yakima Don’t burn your summer plans with a barbecue fire

It’s grilling season and that means it’s time to start thinking about home safety. Yakima Fire Department officials said the more time people spend outdoors, the fewer home fires firefighters will see. In fact, the United States Fire Administration states that “less than 8% of house fires and less than 6% of fatal house fires occur in each of the summer months. In contrast, more than 12% of fires deadly and more than 10% of all house fires occur in December and January.”

Barbecues and fire pits are great but can be dangerous if not used correctly

Firefighters are urging everyone to be careful with fire pits and backyard barbecues during the summer months. Barbecue-related fires are major contributors to property damage and burns. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 10,600 home fires are started each year and 19,700 patients are sent to hospital emergency rooms due to injuries involving grates.

The state fire marshal’s office is advising residents to take steps to make this barbecue season safe.

Setup:

· Be sure to check with your local fire department for any outdoor burning restrictions or bans.

· Propane and charcoal barbecues should only be used outdoors.

· At a minimum, keep grills 10 feet from fences, exterior house walls, overhanging tree branches, or other flammable materials.

· Make sure the grill is stable and level.

· Before using the grill for the first time each year, check the gas cylinder hose for leaks by applying a mild solution of soap and water to the hose, then turning on the gas. If there is a leak, the solution will form bubbles. If you cannot stop the leak yourself, have it professionally repaired before using.

When lighting:

· Whether cooking with a gas or charcoal grill, always use caution when lighting.

· Always make sure your grill lid is open before lighting.

· When using charcoal, consider using a charcoal fire starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid and never use gasoline or other flammable liquids other than ignition fluid.

When cooking:

· Never leave a grill unattended.

· Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

· Keep children and pets away from the grill.

· Keep long sleeves or clothing away from the grill.

· Never add charcoal lighter fluid or any other flammable liquid to the fire after a charcoal grill is lit.

· After cooking, allow the grill to cool completely before storing. Keep in mind that this can take up to an hour and once completely out the coals should be discarded in a metal container.

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