Truckee Fire: Fire safety tips for cooking outdoors |

Truckee Fire: Fire safety tips for cooking outdoors

Gene WelchPublic Safety andamp; Information OfficerTruckee Fire Protection District

With the change in weather more people are cooking outdoors. To ensure that this will be a pleasant endeavor here are a few precautions for outdoor cooking.When using a propane gas barbecue with a portable bottle, always check your gas connections with a leak detecting solution after hooking up a new bottle. The service valve on the tank should be in the full open or the fully closed position. As the packing on the valve wears, they can leak if not in the full open or closed position. If you must position the valve fully open or fully closed to prevent a leak, have the valve repaired after using up all the fuel in the tank and before refilling it.Pay attention to the proximity of combustibles to your barbecue. Do not place them too close to wood/vinyl siding, railings or other combustibles. Check your owners manual for proper clearance. Some manufacturers recommend up to 5 feet of clearance from combustibles.When using charcoal briquettes in a barbecue, always check to see that the ash catcher is in place before lighting your barbecue. Hot embers have been known to drop down underneath a barbecue and start a fire on the deck or other flammable surface below. Never spray additional charcoal starter fluid on briquettes that have already been lit. Even if you think the fire might be out, a hot ember can cause ignition and a flame can travel back up the stream to the fluid container. Too many cooks have been transported to hospitals with life altering, and sometimes life threatening burns after trying this. Do not attempt to barbecue with briquettes or use an open fire when there are high winds. Hot embers blown from a cooking fire can start a wildland or structure fire. For the same reason, you should make sure your cook fire is completely out when you are done.Educate your children so they understand that wherever a barbecue or open fire is being used is a no-play area. Running or playing within close proximity to a hot barbecue or open fire is not acceptable behavior. It is an invitation to serious injury. When bad weather threatens your barbecue, do not move your lit barbecue into an enclosed space like a garage. They are not designed to be used in an enclosed space. One of the byproducts of combustion in a confined space is the lethal and toxic gas, Carbon Monoxide. When these simple guidelines are followed your summertime barbecue can be a fun and rewarding experience. It is an opportunity to teach your children how fire is used as a tool by adults and needs to be respected and carefully controlled. Enjoy the good weather along with cooking outdoors; and dont forget to use your sunscreen.

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