SUNDERLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – Sunderland Fire Service is reminding residents to exercise caution when using barbecues after some fires started from a barbecue.
More than 75% of Massachusetts barbecue fires occur between May and September. Between 2012 and 2021 there were 908 fires involving grills, hibachis and barbecues. These fires caused 35 civilians and 10 firefighters, and an estimated $8.9 million in damage.
General safety tips for grilling:
- Always grill outdoors, never indoors.
- Do not use a gas or charcoal grill on a porch, balcony, or fire escape.
- Place grills 10 feet from the house and patio railings. Make sure the grills are not under eaves or overhanging branches.
- Gas grills can be used on first floor decks or patios only if there is an outside stairway to ground level or if it is at ground level.
- Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children.
- Create a circle of security. Keep children and pets three feet away from grills. Children should never play near grills.
Charcoal grill safety
- Use only carbon starter liquid. Do not use gasoline or kerosene to start a fire in a grill.
- Never pour lighter fluid into burning briquettes or hot coals. Failure to do so could result in a stabbing fire and severe burns.
- Charcoal briquettes emit carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly. Always use charcoal grills outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
- For proper barbecue ash disposal, allow the coals to burn out completely and then allow them to cool for 48 hours before discarding.
- If you need to dispose of ashes before they have completely cooled, soak them thoroughly in water before placing them in a metal container.
Gasoline vapors are extremely flammable and can be ignited when refueling a hot engine. Gasoline spilled on clothing or rags can give off vapors until completely dry and can be ignited by any heat source. Gasoline vapors can travel a long distance to find a source of ignition, so gasoline should not be stored indoors. In the past 10 years, Massachusetts has experienced nearly 900 gasoline-related fires, causing nine deaths, 132 injuries, and over $19 million in damages.
- Never use gasoline to start or add to a fire.
- Only store petrol outside the house, e.g. B. in a locked shed, and always in an approved container. Never store gasoline in the apartment or in the basement.
- Gasoline should only be used as a fuel for an engine, not as a solvent.
- Refuel lawn mowers, leaf blowers, mopeds and other equipment only when the engine is cold. Never top up hot.
- Keep gasoline away from all heat sources, such as B. Smoking materials, campfires and grills.
Smoking materials have been the leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts for decades, and this spring there were many fires from improperly disposed of smoking materials on porches and backyards. Smoking fires can be particularly dangerous because they can smolder undetected and then erupt into fast-growing flames. A fire starting on a porch, balcony, or outdoor stair case can get a strong hold before smoke detectors inside warn someone of the danger.
The Massachusetts Fire Department reported nearly 5,000 smoke-related building fires between 2012 and 2021, killing 108 people, injuring 610 civilians and firefighters, and causing nearly $200 million in damage. Cigarettes and other smoking materials cause an even higher number of fires outdoors, including bush fires.
Smokers should use an ashtray or a can of sand or water. Do not toss incense materials in mulch, leaves, grass, or planters, or stub them out on the porch railing or steps.
Brush and wildland fire protection
According to data from the Department of Conservation & Recreation, there were more than 1,100 wildfires on nonstate land in Massachusetts last year, burning more than 1,600 acres. More than 1,000 acres have burned down in more than 400 fires so far this year. Everyone can and should do a part to prevent them by using caution and common sense when camping, cooking on the grill, putting out smoking materials, or riding dirt bikes or ATVs in wooded areas.
Fire Safety Tips for Brush and Wildland Fires:
- Before starting a campfire, make sure it’s legal by checking with your local fire department.
- Remove dry leaves and sticks as well as overhanging low branches and shrubs.
- Avoid burning on windy, dry days.
- Keep campfires small so they’re easier to control, and take care of them at all times.
- Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids.
- Always keep a hose, bucket of water or shovel and dirt or sand nearby to put out the fire.
- Make sure your campfire is cold before you go.
- If you are operating an ATV, dirt bike, or other off-road vehicle, be sure the spark arrestor is properly installed per Massachusetts law
- Do not park an ATV, dirt bike, or other ATV on or near dry vegetation and turn off the engine when storing for an extended period of time.
Massachusetts law prohibits the use, possession, or sale of fireworks in Massachusetts without a license, even if they were legally purchased elsewhere and then transported into the state. Possession or use carries a fine of up to $100, and sale carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a year behind bars.
“Each year in Massachusetts, people are injured and property is lost because fires start with illegal fireworks,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “If you want to see fireworks this summer, many cities and towns will have displays that are carefully managed and organized by licensed professionals. For the safety of our friends, families and communities, we should leave the fireworks to the professionals.”