Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 26, 2013

Be cautious when lighting the grill

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial start of the summer, and it’s also a time to have picnics and cookouts.

Many New Yorkers plan to enjoy their barbecues and other outdoor amenities this weekend, and the New York Propane Gas Association has some tips to make sure that gas grills, portable fire pits, and patio heaters are used properly.

The association advises those who use propane to consult an interactive online module on grilling from the Propane Education & Research Council, www.propanesafety.com/grilling-safety.

Among the safety tips is proper ventilation. The council advises to always keep the lid open when lighting a grill and don’t close it until you are sure the grill is lit.

Grills should be kept in a well-ventilated outdoor area, at least ten feet away from buildings — and at least three feet away from trees and shrubs. Never cover the bottom of the grill with foil because it can restrict air circulation.

When not in use, propane cylinders should be stored outdoors in an upright position.

The council also advises that when firing up a grill, people should never use starter fluid with propane grills or use matches or lighters to check for leaks.

• Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder, and keep all flammable materials away from the grill.

• If the grill does not ignite within ten seconds, turn off the gas, keep the lid open and wait five minutes before trying again. If the igniter fails to light the grill after two or three tries, turn off the gas and replace the igniter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Regularly check the tubes that lead into the burner for blockage from insects or food grease.

• Never attempt to repair, clean or clear blockages on a hot grill.

• Always have one person in charge of the fire at all times. Never leave a hot grill unattended.

• Never attempt to repair the tank valve or the appliance yourself. See a propane gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person. Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.

• If you smell gas and you are able to, safely turn off the cylinder vale, turning it to the right (clockwise). Immediately leave the area and call 911 or your local fire department. Before you use the grill again, have a qualified service technician inspect your cylinder.

The web site offers consumers proper grilling procedures using propane, in English or Spanish. In addition, there is a website for children, explaining why it’s important for them and pets to keep away form grilling equipment. This child-friendly interactive site can be found at www.propanekids.com.

For more information on the value and safe uses of propane, visit www.nypropane.com and www.usepropane.com.