By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Philadelphians get ready to go full throttle with their outdoor grills this summer, Philadelphia fire officials today were outlining a series of safety tips to keep everyone out of harm’s way.
Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers says that before using a grill that’s been off duty in the off-season, thoroughly inspect it, including the propane hoses and connections, and check for any holes or cracks in the drip pan.
“The last thing you want is a pan that is rusted through and will spoil your whole cookout,” the commissioner said today.
With charcoal grills, he points out, allow the lighter fluid to penetrate the charcoal briquettes for 5-10 minutes before lighting, creating a smaller, more controlled flame. And once a fire has been started, never add lighter fluid.
“If the fire follows the squirt back up, you can be seriously burned,” he warns.
In addition, Ayers says, make sure the grill is on a heatproof surface, only at ground level, and well away from any structures or furniture.
Ayers says he was attending a picnic in Fairmount Park a few weeks ago, on Lemon Hill, where someone had dumped hot ashes in a nearby trash bin, causing a fire.
“We took the melted ice from the drinks that were in the containers and we poured it on there to put the fire out,” the commissioner recalls.
The safest method, he reminds grillers, is to wet the ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the grill.