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Tips to prevent fires, stay safe while grilling

CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- To stay safe while grilling, the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Fire Prevention office recommends following general grilling guidelines provided by the National Fire Protection Association. These guidlines include tips such only using propane and charcoal barbecue grills outdoor and keeping children and pets away from the grill area. (Courtesy graphic)

CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- Warm weather is finally here in southern Colorado and that means an increase in outdoor activities to include barbequing. Sizzling burgers and hot dogs over a fire on the grill for a family cookout is always a favorite, but if you’re not careful this year’s summer time kick-off barbeque might be remembered for all the wrong reasons! To keep you and your family safe while grilling, the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Fire Prevention office recommends following these general guidelines provided by the National Fire Protection Association:

General grilling tips
• Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.
• The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhang branches. At least 10 feet away is a good rule of thumb.
• Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
• Never leave your grill unattended.

Propane grills

Before you use your grill:
• Check the major connection points between the propane tank hose and regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
• Check the propane tank hose for any potential leaks. To do that:
o Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
o Turn the propane tank on. If there is a leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
o If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
• If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
• If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.

When the grill is on:
• As you are cooking, if you smell propane gas, turn off the tank and burners.
• If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
• If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills
• There are several ways to get charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.
• If you use starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
• Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
• There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

For additional information on other fire safety tips go to www.nfpa.org/public-education and search by topic. If you have any questions or would like clarification on any fire safety tips please call the Cheyenne Mountain AFS Fire Prevention office at 474-3355.
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