Md. official offers safety tips after responding to grilling incidents

After responding to recent grilling fires, a D.C.-area official is reminding those cooking outdoors of the dangers if certain precautions aren’t taken.

Cooks should keep their surroundings in mind when grilling outside, according to Montgomery County, Maryland, Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.

“Create a circle of safety whenever you’re using a grill, particularly in a residential environment. Make sure that it’s well away from any building, particularly those houses that have vinyl siding,” Piringer said.

He said the fire department has responded to a number of grill fires recently, including one explosion and flash fire from a buildup of gas.

And, though he said it may be obvious, “If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the products, you can usually operate them safely.”

Many people in the region may grill on their decks, and Piringer said that’s OK as long as you keep that circle of safety in mind.

And how far away from the house should you place your grill?

“We recommend that if you have a grill, it should be 10 or 15 feet from any structure,” Piringer said.

And he said that the circle of safety should be about 3 feet.

Piringer said to pay attention to where kids and pets are while grilling. And, don’t leave your food unattended.

“The number one cause of fire in Montgomery County, and throughout the nation for that matter, is unattended cooking and that also applies to grilling.”

When you’re done eating, “Make sure that all of the grease and all of the other byproducts are cleared off so that it’s ready to use the next time.”

More grilling tips are available on the National Fire Protection Association’s website.

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