Mayor Doherty, The Belmar Fire Department and Fire Marshall would like to share some fire safety tips that may be helpful when enjoying the upcoming summer season. As the summer season approaches many of us love to gather together and enjoy fresh, grilled food. Grilling at home can be hazardous if not practiced safely and properly.
The weather has been becoming nice and the time and season for outdoor cooking and grilling begins. We would like to take this time to remind everyone how to be fire safe when cooking and grilling outdoors.
Annually Fire Departments across the Nation respond to an estimated 7,500 grill related fire incidents; resulting in nearly 5,000 injuries and approximately 27 million dollars in property damages. Below are some commonsense but yet mostly overlooked fire safety tips you should remember.
Common Sense Grill Safety
- If you purchased a new grill this year be sure to read and understand the manufacturer’s guidelines prior to using the unit for the first time. For those using a grill from the previous season be sure to check the unit out thoroughly that all part are intact, cleaned and working prior to first use.
- Before using a new gas grill or starting up one from a previous season, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - are not kinked, blocked or broke. Spiders like to make their homes inside of these areas causing blockages and squirrels like to snack these areas causing breaks.
- If using propane be sure to have your tank filled or swapped by a certified LPG vendor.
- Be sure your propane or gas connecting is secured as well as the tank prior to using the unit.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking. If your clothing catches fire; stop where you are, drop to the ground and roll; covering your face and eyes. Running will only fan the flames and increase your chance of severe injury.
- When using a charcoal or wood burning grill be careful when using lighter fluid. Use extreme caution when adding fluid to an already lit fire; the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Supervise and keep children safely away from all outdoor grills. Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately.
- Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Never grill in enclosed or covered areas and keep the grill at least 5 to 7 feet away from any combustible item including your house, garage and shed.
- Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand and familiarize yourself with the proper use prior to operating the grill.
In addition to the above you should familiarize yourself with any State and Local codes which may govern the use and location of a grill.
N.J.A.C 5:70 -3 of the New Jersey State Uniform Fire Code Prohibits the use and storage of Charcoal, Wood Burning and LPG (Propane) cooking devices and outdoor fireplaces in or on any porch, deck, balcony, or within 5 feet of any combustible construction. Exceptions are only detached one and two-family dwellings.
PROHIBITED in ALL Multi-Family Dwellings with 3 living units or more.
PROHIBITED in ALL Apartments and Condominiums
And finally if you have any questions or doubts as to the use and placement of a grill or other outside cooking device or fireplace please contact your local Fire Marshal. Belmar’s Chief Fire Marshall is John Rizzitello who may be reached at732-681-3700 x239.
Enjoy the upcoming summer season and practice safe outdoor cooking and grilling.