METHUEN — Chief Joseph Solomon and the Methuen Police Department would like to remind residents to take into consideration these tips for grilling and cooking outdoors this summer.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS), Massachusetts fire departments responded to 431 fires involving grills, hibachis and barbecues between 2011 and 2015. These fires caused 20 civilian injuries, three firefighter injuries and $3.5 million in property damage.
“We're encouraging residents to follow safety procedures when cooking outdoors” Chief Solomon said. “Please be aware of your surroundings, where children are in relation to hot grills, and keep track of what's going on in your own backyard.”
In order to prevent grilling fires and keep residents safe while cooking outdoors, Chief Solomon recommends the following tips provided by DFS:
• Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors.
• Place grills away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves of overhanging branches.
• Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area. Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders.
• Never leave a burning grill unattended.
Gas Grill Safety
• Make sure 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.
• Check that all connections are tight before turning on the gas.
• Clean the grease trap every time you grill.
• If you smell gas while cooking, turn the grill off and move away from it. Call 911 from a safe location. Do not move the grill.
• Store propane cylinders upright in an outdoor, shaded area. Cylinders should not be used, stored or transported where they can be exposed to high temperatures.
Charcoal Grill Safety
• Use only charcoal starter fluid. Never used gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill and never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals.
• Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, which can be deadly.
• Properly dispose 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.
Anyone who has questions about grilling safety should contact the Methuen Police Department at 978-983-8698.