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Avoid potential outdoor fire hazards this summer

  • Published
  • By Jessie R. Moreno
  • 902nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Protection Inspector

As the world opens up again and people make plans for a season ahead full of outdoor activities, the use of outdoor fuel-based equipment like grills, fire pits and campfires will surely increase substantively.

While these types of equipment do present potential fire hazards, associated risks can be minimized by following these recommendations:

Make sure your gas grill is working properly

  • Leaks or breaks are primarily a problem with gas grills. Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • If your grill has a gas leak detected by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and do not move it. If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.

Never leave equipment unattended

  • Make sure to closely monitor food cooking on the grill. Turn the grill off promptly when you’re done cooking, and let it cool completely before returning it to its original location.
  • For campfires, fire pits and chimineas, always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel and dirt or sand nearby, and make sure the fire is completely out before going to sleep or leaving the area.

Keep equipment a safe distance from things that can burn

  • Place your grill well away (at least 3 feet) from anything that can burn, including deck railings and overhanging branches; also keep them out from under the eaves.
  • Keep portable grills a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets well away from any type of equipment in use.

Use fuel and fire starters properly

  • If you use starter fluid to ignite charcoals, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids on firepits, chimineas, or campfires.

For any type of outdoor fire that can’t be quickly and effectively extinguished, call the fire department immediately for assistance.

For more information about summer safety, visit the National Fire Prevention Association at www.nfpa.org/education or contact the fire prevention offices at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210-221-2727, JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-2921, or JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-6915.