NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and New Jersey's county and municipal Consumer Affairs Local Assistance (CALA) offices today continued the commemoration of Summer Safety Week with tips on outdoor grilling and fire safety for New Jersey residents.
"After a long, cold winter, New Jerseyans are excited that summer is finally upon us. During the week leading up to Memorial Day, we are reminding New Jerseyans to keep summer safe and fun," New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve C. Lee said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated that grill fires on residential properties cause an average of 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in property loss each year, nationwide. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of such fires occur in May, June, July and August, and approximately half occur between 5 pm and 8 pm.
General Grill Safety Information from the CPSC and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs:
- Propane and charcoal grills should only be used outdoors. Keep them well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Do not use them in garages or on porches. Never use them inside a tent or other structure. Failure to follow this step could lead to carbon monoxide or fire hazards.
- Before using an old grill for the first time this summer, check the CPSC's website, at www.cpsc.gov to ensure it has not been subject to a safety recall.
- Always follow the safety instructions that accompany any grill you use.
- Keep children at least three feet away from the grill. The outside surface can become very hot and remain hot even after the fire has been put out.
- Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby.
- Keep flammable liquids, such as gasoline or lighter fluid, away from the grill.
Gas Grill-Specific Safety Information:
Thoroughly inspect your gas grill at least once each year, with the following steps:
- Check the Venturi tube (which connects the burner to the control valves) for blockages and clear them with a pipe cleaner or wire.
- Check the hoses for cracks and leaks. Make sure the hoses are as far away from the hot surface as possible. If you can't move them, have a heat shield installed.
- Check for liquid propane (LP) gas leaks whenever you connect the grill to the gas container or if you smell gas. To check for leaks, open the LP gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution (one part water, one part liquid detergent) with a brush at connection points. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Turn off the LP gas and tighten the connection. If this does not stop the leak, close the container valve and take the grill to your LP gas dealer or a qualified appliance repair person.
- If a leak is detected, do not attempt to light the grill until it has been repaired. If you discover a leak while using the grill, turn off the LP gas.
- Always keep lighted cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from a leaking grill.
- When storing or transporting LP gas containers: Always keep them upright. Never store them under or near the grill. Never use or store them indoors. LP containers should only be refilled by a qualified service station operator. Do not fill them yourself.
- Buy grills and LP gas containers that bear the mark of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
Additional Safety Information:
- Always remember that charcoal grills and campfires remain hot even after the fire has been put out.
- Keep campfires to a small, manageable size.
- Teach children how to stop, drop and roll if an article of clothing ever catches fire. Young children can learn best if you practice the steps with them, rather than just talking about them.
New Jersey's CALA offices work with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to enforce New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, and related statutes and regulations, in each county that includes a CALA office. Consumers can file complaints by contacting their local CALA office or the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an
online complaint form with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.