It's the grilling season and that means it's time to start thinking about safety at your home. Yakima Fire Department officials says as more people spend more time outdoors firefighters will see fewer home fires but they'll see more problems with BBQ's and backyard fire pits. The United States Fire Administration says "less than 8 percent of house fires and less than 6 percent of fatal house fires occur in each of the summer months. By contrast, more than 12 percent of fatal fires and more than 10 percent of all house fires occur in December and January."

BBQ's and fire pits are great but can be dangerous if not used correctly

But while firefighters see less home fires they're urging everyone to be careful with backyard fire pits and BBQ's during the summer months. BBQ related fires are significant factors for both property damage and burn injuries. According to the National Fire Protection Association, on average 10,600 home fires are started each year and 19,700 patients are sent to hospital emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office advises residents to take steps to make this a safe BBQ season.

Setting Up:

·       Ensure you check with your local fire agency about any outdoor burn restrictions or bans.

·       Both propane and charcoal grills should only be used outside.

·       At a minimum, keep grills 10’ away from fences, exterior walls of the house, overhanging tree branches, or any other flammable materials.

·       Be sure the grill is stable and level.

·       Before using the grill for the first time each year check the gas cylinder hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and then turning on the gas. If there is a leak, the solution will form bubbles. If you can’t stop the leak yourself, have it serviced by a professional before using it.

When Lighting:

·       Whether cooking with a gas or charcoal grill always use caution when lighting.

·       Always make sure your grill lid is open before lighting.

·       When using charcoal, consider using a charcoal chimney starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid and never use gasoline or other flammable liquids other than lighter fluid.

When Cooking:

·       Never leave a grill unattended.

·       Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

·       Keep children and pets away from the grill.

·       Keep long sleeves or clothing away from the grill.

·       Never add charcoal starter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire once a charcoal grill is started.

·       When finished cooking, allow the grill to cool completely before putting it away. Keep in mind this can take an hour and once completely out, coals should be disposed of in a metal container.

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