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Brookline Fire Department Offers Grilling Safety Tips


Chief John F. Sullivan would like to remind Brookline residents to practice safe grilling habits while cooking outdoors this season.

Each year Massachusetts fire departments respond to hundreds of fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, according to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

Chief Sullivan would like to share the following safety tips provided by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:

Safety First

  • Always grill outdoors.
  • Grills cannot be used on a porch, balcony or deck with a roof, overhang or wall (other than the exterior of the building).
  • Grills can only be used on open first floor porches, decks or patios if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or the porch is at ground level.
  • Grills must be 10 feet from the side of a building unless the manufacturer’s instructions say it can be closer. Make sure grills are not underneath overhanging branches.
  • Grills cannot be used on fire escapes.
  • Place grills away from the house and deck railings.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from grills. Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders. Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children.

Gas Grill Safety

  • Never leave a burning grill unattended.
  • Make sure that the lid of a gas grill is open when you light it. Propane can build up inside and when ignited, the lid may blow off.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, turn off and get away from the grill. Call 911 from a safe location. Do not move the grill.
  • Always turn off the burners and close the propane cylinder when you are done cooking.
  • Keep all propane outdoors, at least 10 feet away from building openings such as doors, windows and dryer vents, and 20 feet away from air intake vents and ignition sources.
  • Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder.
  • Clean the grease trap every time you grill.
  • Replace propane cylinders that are old, rusty, or showing any other signs of disrepair.

Charcoal Grill Safety

  • Use only charcoal starter fluid. Gasoline and kerosene should not be used to start a fire in a grill. Never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals. Doing so may cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries.
  • Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Never use charcoal grills indoors.
  • For proper disposal of grill ashes, allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal. If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.