Merrick Fire Department gives barbecuing safety tips


Summer weather is here, and with it the promise that many Merokeans will light backyard grills in the coming days and weeks. The Merrick Fire Department has offered the following list of safety tips, which can help prevent fires and injuries:

• Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.

• Place grills well away from one’s home, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches.

• Never barbecue in enclosed areas — doing so will trap carbon monoxide.

• Clean grease or fat buildup from grills and trays beneath grills.

• Do not overfill a propane tank.

• Before using a natural gas-powered grill, check the connections between the propane tank and the grill. Make sure the Venturi tubes — where the air and gas mix — are not blocked. Application of a light soap-and-water solution to the hose or line can reveal a leak. A propane gas leak will release bubbles. If a gas leak is apparent from smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, use the shutoff valve to turn off the tank/gas line. If the leak stops, get a professional to service the gas line and grill before using them again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department or 911.

• Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.

• Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire — the flames can flash back up into the container, causing an explosion.

• Dispose of hot coals properly: douse them with plenty of water and stir them to ensure that the fire is extinguished. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.

• Never store any hot coals or embers indoors, on a porch or near any structure, even when they are inside a secured metal receptacle.

• Make sure everyone knows to “stop, drop and roll” in case a piece of their clothing catches fire.

• Call 911 in any emergency.