Grilling and barbecue safety tips from the Pasco Fire Department

PASCO, Wash. — The northwest is starting to warm up and for a lot of the Tri-Cities, grilling season has probably already begun.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 10,600 home fires are started each year, and 19,700 patients are sent to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.

The State Fire Marshal sent out a notice, advising people on how to have a safe grilling and barbecuing season this year.

According to the Pasco Fire Department, these are the tips you need before you throw those burgers on your grill. There were several key things that Ben Shearer, the Public Information Officer of the Pasco Fire Department, wanted to emphasize for grilling safety.

“Keep ‘em clean. Keep ‘em away from homes. Keep ‘em away from the building itself. Three feet, at least, away from any of the buildings or other burnable surfaces. That includes trees, powerlines, sheds, those kinds of things,” Shearer said.

He also suggested that you keep grills away from walls and surfaces to prevent structural damage.

“We have problems every year with people barbecuing up next to their house or out on the deck or under a covered porch,” Shearer said. “And those end up in leading to structure fires. So not only burning your food, you end up burning your house too.”

He also wanted to emphasize not to grill under decks, overhangs, covered patios, or on top of decks. Grilling on a deck is dangerous, and for those who live in apartments, it’s highly advised against.

“We really want people to remember is that it is absolutely illegal to barbecue on an apartment deck,” Shearer said.

Other important things to keep in mind: keep your eyes on your cooking, and make sure your smoke alarm is ready to go. According to Shearer, this means that it’s less than 10 years old, and has new batteries.

He noted that half of the fire calls and residential fires do not have working smoke alarms. Barbecue-related fires are significant factors for both property damage and burn injuries.

“We want you to do that right so not only do you not burn your house, but you have good food too,” said Shearer.

Keep yourself, your home and your food safe this summer.

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