Brewster Fire/Rescue Offers Summer Fire Safety Tips
Between 2016 and 2020, Massachusetts fire departments responded to 427 fires involving grills, hibachis, and barbecues. These fires caused 15 civilian injuries, six firefighter injuries, and $4 million in property damage. In 2020 alone, there were 74 grill fires that injured one civilian, one firefighter and caused $454,250 in estimated damages.
Tips for grilling safety:
Always grill outdoors.
Place grills 10-feet away from the house and deck railings. Make sure grills are not under eaves or overhanging branches.
Do not use a gas or charcoal grill on any porch, balcony, or fire escape.
Gas grills can be used on first floor decks or patios, only if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or it is at ground level.
Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children.
Create a circle of safety. Keep children and pets three feet away from grills. Children should never play near grills.
Propane is the most common grilling fuel, but many people use charcoal grills. Here are some charcoal grill safety tips:
Only use charcoal starter fluid. Do not use gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill.
Never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals. Doing so may cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries.
Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Always use charcoal grills outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Never use charcoal grills indoors.
For proper disposal 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.
Gasoline and Lawnmowers
Gasoline vapors are highly flammable and refueling a hot motor can ignite them. Gasoline spilled onto clothing can give off vapors until completely dry and be ignited by any heat source. Gasoline vapors can travel a long distance to find an ignition source, which is why gasoline cannot be stored inside the house. In the past five years (2016-2020), 338 lawn mower fires caused one civilian death, three civilian injuries, four fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $1.6 million. Here are some gasoline use safety tips:
Store gasoline outside only in approved containers.
Keep gasoline away from all heat sources, such as smoking materials, pilot lights, campfires, and grills.
Refuel a cooled lawn mower. Never refill while it is hot.
Keep hands and feet away from a mower while it is running.
Smoking was the leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts last year, and there have been many fires this spring from improperly discarded smoking materials on porches and in backyards. These fires can smolder undetected for a long time and when they erupt into flames, travel fast. If they start on the exterior of the building, these fires can get a strong hold before the interior smoke alarms start to warn anyone of the danger. “If you allow smoking on your property, provide appropriate receptacles for discarding smoking materials: a deep ashtray, a can with sand or water. Don’t toss smoking materials into the mulch, leaves, grass, potted plants or other containers that can catch fire. Don’t let them stub them out on the porch railing or stairs.
Information provided in partnership with the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office