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Happy 4th, Grill Safely

Happy Fourth of July – Keep wildfire awareness in your celebration
Fire up the grill, but keep safety in mind

On Independence Day, it is easy to get caught up in the enjoyment of the day with parades, ice cream, and lots of good fun. However, we also should take a moment to remember our fellow Americans – veterans who have fought in previous wars or our military men and women who are currently fighting in far off lands to safeguard the freedom our Founding Fathers so bravely secured for us.

But this Fourth of July, in addition to remembering these heroes, we can’t forget the incredible danger wildfires pose in our region. Revisiting last year’s Rim Fire is not something any of us want to do.

I have little doubt those of us that call the Foothills home are very aware of the danger untended barbeques or fireworks pose, but we have visitors–and lots of them–during the summer. It’s up to us to set an example of sensible fire safety.

Many of our local counties have banned fireworks or severely restricted them this year but we still have to be careful with outdoor grills and campfires.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that outdoor barbequing poses a huge risk during the holidays. People get distracted and forget to practice safe grilling.
Between 2007 and 2011, more than one-quarter (27%) of home fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen. In almost half (43%) of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, half (51%) of the outside gas grills, and 29% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.
Rather than giving a laundry list of safe grilling practices, I thought I would summarize the top few from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • Keep an eye on what you’re grilling. Not only will you save your favorite foods from burning, you reduce the risk of accidentally starting a fire.
  • Keep children and pets, and anything that can catch fire like dish towels or pot holders away from your cooking area.
  • Be alert when you’re cooking. It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and not be aware of what’s happening on or near the grill. Staying focused reduces your risk for injuries.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

After all, you want to celebrate the Fourth of July with your family, and not in the emergency room or an evacuation shelter.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!