Gas Grill Dangers

(Memphis) There’s nothing like the smell, and of course taste, of a grilled burger on a hot summer day.

WREG caught up with some Memphis firefighters at Station 22 prepping for lunch. If anyone knows their way around a grill, it’s certainly them, but firefighters also know just how dangerous it can be when things go wrong on the grill.

MFD Battalion Chief Delphone Hubbard told us, “There are many, many risks associated with cooking on grills.”

In fact, gas grills with propane tanks can pose lots of problems.

“Anytime you’re dealing with combustible product, gases, ignition sources of that type, you have to operate with caution,” Chief Hubbard said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has more than 1,800 reports in its databases related to gas grills and barbeques.

There have also been a number of recalls over the past few years of gas grills and propane tanks.

ESPN and Former CBS Anchor Hannah Storm was left with burns all over face, neck and arms after an explosion with her gas grill late last year.

Lieutenant Wayne Cooke gave us a safety demonstration. Lt. Cooke says consumers should clean their grills first, then check for leaks.

“You want to get some soap and water, some light soap and water, and put it around any of your gas fittings,” he said.

Cooke says if there is a leak, you’ll notice bubbles.

Next, Cooke says, “Open your lid up, turn your gas on and then you come to your control knobs.”

“Why do I do it in that order?” I ask.

“Because you want your gas to be ready to be released,” in order to avoid any potential gas build up, Lt. Cooke says. “With the build up, you can create what we call a flash over.”

When you’re finished, Cooke says it’s important to use the same routine.

Turn off the propane first, then the grill, even waiting a few minutes in between to allow any leftover gas to escape.

“That way when you come back to the system, it’s like you’re starting new,” adds Cooke.

Other tips:

  • Never grill under a carport or overhang
  • Grill at least 10 feet away from any structure
  • If you’re on a wooden deck, keep the grill away from the railings
  • Have a way to put out a fire if one starts
  • Read manufacturer’s instructions

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