We’re right at the start of one of the best parts about living in New England: the summer. Clam shacks down on the Cape, dairy bars, lounging on the Esplanade by the Charles River, chilling in the backyard hammock, camping in the shadow of the Berkshires … there’s no other time quite like it.
But while we’re enjoying ourselves, we should take the proper precautions to ensure our good times aren't cut short by unforeseen circumstances.
In the first of a two-post series, we’ll talk about staying safe close to home for one of our favorite summer pastimes — a good ol’ fashioned cookout.
Getting fired up about grill safety
Who doesn’t love grilling burgers out on the deck? It’s great, as long as we use our heads before we fill our stomachs.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics compiled from 2006 to 2010, gas grills are more than five times as likely as charcoal grills to cause a home fire. During that time period, fires caused by grills resulted in 10 deaths, 140 injuries and $75 million in property damage. Twenty-eight percent of those fires started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, while 28 percent started on an exterior balcony or open porch. A flammable or combustible gas or liquid catching fire most frequently caused these fires.
How can we stay safe while cooking out? The National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration make the following recommendations:
- Use grills outdoors only, and position them away from the home and deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the grill.
- Never leave the grill unattended and make sure it's kept clean.
- Store starter fluid and other fuel sources away from children and heat sources.
- For a propane grill, check the hose for leaks or blockages and don’t overfill the tank.
- Dispose of coals in a metal container only when you are sure the fire is out and the coals are cool.
In an upcoming post, we’ll turn our attention from the backyard to the waterways for a discussion of boating safety. In the meantime, save a burger for us!