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State Fire Marshal Encourages Fire Safety With Outdoor Cooking
07/08/2011
Rich Hoover
Public Information Officer
Office of State Fire Marshal
(503) 934-8217

State Fire Marshal Mark Wallace reminds Oregonians to be fire safe during barbeques and cookouts to avoid tragedy during summer activities. From 2006 through 2010, there were 207 grill-related fires in Oregon, resulting in seven injuries and more than $3 million in property loss.
 
"Cooking outdoors is a nice way to enjoy Oregon's wonderful summers, and following a few basic outdoor cooking fire safety tips will help keep it that way," says State Fire Marshal Mark Wallace.
 
The Office of State Fire Marshal offers the following safety tips:
  • Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors. Using them indoors or in any enclosed space (e.g. garage) poses a fire hazard and exposes you and your family to deadly gases.
  • Place grills away from the home siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place your grill a safe distance from play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grilling area; declare a three-foot safe zone around the grill.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.
  • For propane grills, make sure to check the propane cylinder hose for leaks. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by releasing bubbles.
  • Only use proper starter fluid for charcoal grills. Remember to keep it out of reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Never add starter fluid when coals or kindling are already ignited.
 
"Also, make sure you dispose of ashes properly," says Wallace. "Even though ashes may feel cool to the touch, treat them as if they are hot. Soak them with water and place them in a nonflammable container. Store the container away from things that can burn."
 
You can view grilling safety videos and download national data on grill fires and a grilling safety tip sheet from the National Fire Protection Association website.