For many Americans, the Fourth of July holiday means grabbing friends and family members and barbecuing on the grill. While cooking out is essentially a rite of summer, most people fail to realize the budding dangers for serious burns and other injuries right in your back yard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2005 to 2009, fire departments across the United States responded to around 8,200 home fires per year that involved grills, hibachis or barbecues. Annually, these fires cause an estimated $75 million in property damage and injure 120 people. In addition, 15 deaths are reported every year as a result of home and grill fires.
Since June and July are considered the peak months for grilling fires, it is important to discuss how you can keep you and your loved ones safe this summer. The most important thing to remember is to keep your grill away from your house or garage as it could cause these structures to ignite. While it is convenient to grill on your deck or patio, it is not a good idea. Make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from your home in order to reduce the possibility of setting any structures on fire as well as prevent carbon monoxide from building up in a confined area. Always keep children and pets away from the grill area and never leave the grill unattended.
It is a great idea to make sure your grill is in good shape before cranking up the heat. Whether you are using a gas or charcoal grill, follow these safety tips to execute a memorable barbeque this Fourth of July.
• Get the charcoal ready for use. You can use charcoal chimney starters to start the charcoal using newspaper for fuel. You can also use a starter fluid, but make sure it is specifically charcoal starter fluid. Electrical charcoal starters can also be used, and these do not use fire at all. Just make sure you have an extension cord appropriate for outdoor use.
• Do not add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire once it has been lit.
• Make sure charcoal fluid stays out of the hands of children and away from any heat sources
• After you are done grilling, let the coals cool completely. Once this is done, the charcoal can be disposed of in a metal container.
• Check the hoses and connections between the grill and propane tank before using it.
• Never use a match to check for leaks.
• A propane leak will release bubbles – running water over a hose will show these bubbles if there is a leak.
• If your grill has a leak, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, make sure to get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call your local fire department immediately.
• Should you start to smell gas while cooking, get everyone away from the grill right away and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
As always, the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton remind you and your loved ones to exercise safety first and enjoy your Fourth of July. Should the worst happen, we are equipped to handle cases involving fires, burns or other catastrophic injuries.
If you or someone you love is injured this Fourth of July holiday or throughout the summer due to dangerous or defective grills or because of the negligence of another, contact the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or dial us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).
Have a safe Fourth of July!