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May 18, 2016

Whether at home, a friend’s house or using a grill in a public park, always keep grill and fire safety in the front of your mind. Especially when operating a grill with a number of people about. Grill accidents can occur quickly with little warning threatening your home security and family safety by threat of fire.

Read these timely statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration before your next barbecue.

  • Grill fires cause an estimated $37 million in property loss each year.
  • Almost half of home grill fires happen between 5 and 8 p.m.
  • Fifty-seven percent of home grill fires occur during the months of May, June, July and August.
  • Patios, terraces, screened-in porches and courtyards are leading home locations for grill fires.
  • Seventy-nine percent of all home grill fires involve gas grills.
  • “Mechanical failure, malfunction” is the leading factor in the start of grill fires. Leaks or breaks of containers or pipes are often to blame.

With the grilling season kicking in its time for our Spring Barbecue and Picnic Safety Reminders. Follow these rules to have a safe grilling experience and boost your family safety and home security:

  1. NEVER grill inside, not only is it a serious fire hazard, carbon dioxide and monoxide can build up fast. Any grill should be at least ten feet from your house. This applies to any structures, including garages, pagodas, sheds, etc. Never grill under a wooden overhang. Remove any decorative items from around the grill, hanging baskets, flower pots, etc.
  2. When lighting your gas grill, keep the top open, a closed lid can allow a build-up of gas that will produce a ball of fire when ignited.
  3. When lighting a charcoal grill, use only charcoal lighter fluid and never add more fluid to an already burning grill.
  4. Keep a clean grill. Not only will the food taste better, the built up fat and grease can flare up.
  5. Check for gas leaks, especially after a long period with no use and after moving the grill. Apply a solution of 50% liquid soap and 50% water to all hoses and connections. If you see any bubbles when the gas is turned on, you have a leak. Tighten connections and replace any leaking hoses.
  6. Keep water handy to douse any minor flare-ups. Remove your food first to keep ash off of it.
  7. Have a fire extinguisher within 6 feet of your grill. If you are unable to extinguish a flare-up within a few seconds, call the fire department. Most fire related fatalities occur when people delay calling for help while attempting to extinguish a fire themselves.
  8. Keep spectators and especially children away from the grilling area. Never allow play near your grill as children can forget where they are and run into a hot grill.
  9. Keep raw meats separate from other food. Cook meat thoroughly, minimum internal temperatures should be 145 degrees for steak, 160 degrees for ground beef, 150 degrees for pork, 165 degrees for chicken and 140 degrees for hot dogs.

Going on a trip for a long holiday weekend can be a highlight of your summer. Make sure you prepare your house and property to ensure they are secure while you are away.

  1. Leave you second car parked in the driveway instead of the garage. This will make you home look occupied.
  2. Check your exterior lights to make sure they are working, especially any motion detectors that can scare off an intruder.
  3. Don’t leave a spare key outside your home, leave any spares with a trusted neighbor.
  4. Keep curtains and drapes on your windows open. Closed curtains make a home look unoccupied.
  5. Set lights on timers that will randomly cycle. Lights that are on all the time is very suspicious and a dead give-away that nobody is home.
  6. Secure your valuables in a safe. Hide other items that a burglar would look for in spare bedrooms or linen closets.
  7. Unplug all your electrical devices. A short in wiring can start a fire no one would be around to notice and modern devices continue to draw power even when powered off.
  8. Don’t use social media to let people know you are going away. Make sure children know not to post this information for public consumption.

Read more in  Your Pre-Vacation, Home Preparation Checklist

Before taking off on a road trip to the beach or relation’s house for your holiday barbecue, take the time to go over your car to prevent any problems along the way. Taking your car in for service before a long trip can be a good idea for older cars, in the least check these items:

  1. Fluids – Make sure you are topped off for coolant, transmission and brake fluid, oil, break and washer fluids. Change any fluid filters that are due.
  2. Air Filter – This is easy to check and change to keep your engine running smoothly.
  3. Battery – Hot weather can affect the battery’s ability to start your car just as cold weather does.
  4. Tires – Check for tread depth, bulges and uneven wear. Use a quarter placed headfirst in the tread, if you can’t see the top of Washington’s head, your tread is too shallow.

Emergency Kit – Every car should have an emergency kit, check yours before you head out for a long drive. Items to include are: Charged cell phone, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher (check the charge on it), safety warning triangles, tire gauge and foam tire sealant, jumper cables, flashlight and extra batteries, rags, tool kit, drinking water and a blanket in case you need to stay warm.

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