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How to Host a Safe Summer Cook Out

by  on  Accident Attorney

In 2012, Hannah Storm, an anchor for ESPN, went outside to light her gas grill in preparation for cooking dinner. It was a windy night, and the flame that lit quickly blew out. Storm turned the gas off briefly, and then turned it back on and hit the igniter. A huge explosion occurred–a fireball, she remembers–and Hannah Storm found herself on fire. Miraculously, despite suffering first and second-degree burns on her face, chest and hand, she healed without requiring any skin grafts. But Storm knows she was lucky. She is now getting the message out: read the safety instructions for your grill before operating it. If your flame goes out, turn the gas and the grill off for at least 15 minutes so that the propane has time to dissipate before re-igniting. 

Your Denver personal injury attorney knows that June and July are the peak months for fires due to grilling. The annual average number of home fires due to gas grills was 7,200 from 2007—2011, while the annual average number of home fires associated with charcoal and solid-fueled grills was 1,400 from 2007—2011. The toll of these grill fires is steep: 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries, and 96 million dollars worth of direct property damages.

Many people make similar mistakes to the tragic mistake made by Hannah Storm. Some grillers start the gas, and then wait too long to ignite, causing too much propane to build up. This results in a fireball like the one described by Storm. Some people do not check their grill before using it, and therefore do not realize they have a gas leak, which can also lead to a dangerous amount of propane when igniting the grill. Although gas grills are riskier than charcoal grills, even charcoal grills involve hazards. For instance, hot charcoal bricks need to be disposed of correctly or they can cause trash can fires that can lead to structure fires. Proper disposal requires dousing with water to ensure that the fire is out before placing in a fireproof container.

 In order to have a safe grilling season, your Denver personal injury attorney offers the following safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association: 

  1. Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors
  2. Place grills away from the house, deck railings, eaves, and overhanging branches
  3. Keep grill clean by removing grease or fat build-up
  4. Never leave grill unattended
  5. Have a fire extinguisher handy
  6. Read safety instructions prior to operating the grill

In addition, if you are using a gas grill, always remember to check the gas tank hose for a leak. If there is a leak but no flame, turn off the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced. If the leak does not stop despite turning the grill off, call the fire department immediately. Similarly, if you smell gas while grilling, step away from the grill and call the fire department immediately.

Your Denver personal injury attorney at Levine Law hopes that these warnings and safety tips will help to make your summer grilling season a safe one.