Spring has sprung and as temperatures begin to rise, there is nothing like outdoor grilling to soak up the sunshine. Before you fire up your grill, the Ocean City Fire Department would like to remind residents and visitors to use a few simple outdoor cooking tips to make sure your backyard cookouts are safe and enjoyable.
“A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard,” said Ocean City Fire Marshal David Hartley. “According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas and charcoal grills cause close to 2,900 structure fires, 5,000 outdoor fires, and result in property loss of close to 30,000,000 dollars each year. Over one third of all outdoor cooking related fires begin on an attached deck or balcony. It is important to remember to keep grills a safe distance away from any building.”
The Town of Ocean City does not allow grills or other outdoor cooking equipment to be used within 20’ of multi-family dwellings. Multi-family dwellings are those buildings that contain three or more dwelling units, which may include townhouse complexes.
Prior to use, gas grills should be checked to make sure all tank hoses and burners are good working condition, and free of cracks and leaks. If your grill has a gas leak and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using again. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.
While in use, always maintain a safe zone around the grill to prevent children or pets from getting injured. It is important to never leave your grill unattended and keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Charcoal grill users should be sure that coals are completely cool before disposing of in a non-combustible container.
Lastly, never use outdoor cooking equipment inside, as this creates a significant fire and carbon monoxide hazard. “These are just a few simple tips you can follow to ensure your backyard gatherings are safe for all to enjoy,” Hartley continued. If you have any questions about fire safety, please feel free to contact the Ocean City Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal, at 410.289.8780 or visit www.nfpa.org.