- Always grill outdoors.
- Place grills away from the house and deck railings. Make sure grills are not under eaves or overhanging branches.
- You should not use a gas or charcoal grill on any porch or balcony. Electric grills that have no open flame may be used.
- Gas grills can be used on first floor decks or patios, only if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or it is at ground level.
- Grills should never be used indoors or on fire escapes.
- Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children.
- Keep children and pets three feet away from grills. Create a circle of safety. Children should never play near grills.
- Check for Leaks
- Check to make sure all the connections are tight and secure before firing up the gas grill for the first time this season, Using a brush, apply a soapy solution made of one part dish liquid and one part water to the tank connection. If the solution bubbles, you have a leak that needs repair.
Grill Fire Facts
In 2014, there were 103 fires reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS) involving open fire grills. These incidents caused five civilian injuries, two firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $1.4 million. Eighty-one percent (81%) of all grill fires occurred between May and September.
On the evening of March 8, 2014, the Gardner Fire Department responded to a building fire in a single-family home. A portable gas grill was being used in the carport and ignited the home. No one was injured in this fire. There were no sprinklers and damages were estimated to be $100,000.
On June 30, 2014, at 10:06 p.m., the Boston Fire Department responded to a building fire in a 4-story, 9-unit apartment building. The fire was started on a roof deck by a portable gas grill and extended to the roof deck of the building next door. Neither building was sprinklered and damages were estimated to be $550,000.
On the afternoon of July 15, 2014, the West Springfield Fire Department responded to a fire in a 2-family home started by a portable gas grill igniting a structural component of the home. One civilian and one firefighter were hurt at this fire. Smoke alarms were present, but failed to operate because of dead batteries. The home did not have any sprinklers and damages from this fire were estimated to be $115,000.
Gas Grill Care and Maintenance
Gas grills are safe and convenient when they are assembled and used properly. Gas grills are fueled by liquid propane which is pressurized and requires special handling and storage.
- Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual for the care and maintenance of your gas grill.
- Check that all connections are tight before turning on the gas.
- Leaks can be detected by dabbing the connections with a solution of soapy water and turning on the gas momentarily. If bubbles occur, there is a leak that must be fixed before the grill is used. Do not use matches or lighters to check for leaks.
- Check the tubes to the burners for blockages resulting from insect nests or from grease; use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear blockages.
- Clean the grease trap every time you grill.
- Replace propane cylinders that are old, rusty, or showing any other signs of disrepair.
Cooking with Gas Safely
- Make sure that the lid of a gas grill is open when you light it. Propane can build up inside and when ignited, the lid may blow off.
- If the flame goes out while the gas is on, turn off the gas and wait 15 minutes before relighting.
- If you smell gas while cooking, turn off and get away from the grill. Call 911 from a safe location. Do not move the grill.
- Always turn off the burners and close the propane cylinder when done cooking.
- Never leave a burning grill unattended.
Propane is the most common grilling fuel, but many people use charcoal grills. Here are some charcoal grill safety tips:
- Use only charcoal starter fluid. Gasoline and kerosene should not be used to start a fire in a grill. Never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals. Doing so may cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries.
- Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Never use charcoal grills indoors.
- For proper disposal of grill ashes, allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal.
- If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.
On the afternoon of August 23, 2014, the Wareham Fire Department was dispatched to a single-family home for a building fire. The owner’s charcoal grill ignited the rear exterior wall of the house and damaged most of the home. The 84-year old woman was transported to a local hospital for smoke inhalation. Smoke alarms were present and alerted the occupants. The building was not sprinklered and damages were estimated to be $200,000.
Mulch Safety Tips
The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) has regulations on mulch wood products developed in response to significant fires in the Commonwealth. Fire officials across the state want to alert landscaping companies, nurseries, building owners and managers about the proper placement and storage of mulch in order to prevent fires.
527 CMR 1.00 Regulates Mulch
527 CMR 1, section 10.14.10.4 prohibits the new application of mulch within 18” around combustible exteriors of buildings, such as wood or vinyl but not brick or concrete.
Residential buildings with six units or less are exempted from this regulation, but all homeowners may also wish to adopt these safety practices. The regulation applies to all other buildings including commercial properties.
Storage and Manufacturing of Mulch
The regulation also has safety requirements for those who store or manufacture mulch. It limits the size of mulch piles and requires a distance of 30-feet between piles. Large piles of mulch can easily spontaneously combust with all the heat they generate, so it’s important to be vigilant and employ good housekeeping. The distance between piles prevents a fire in one from easily spreading to another or to a building.
Permits Required to Store 300+ Cubic Yards of Mulch
Permits are required from the fire department wherever more than 300 cubic yards of mulch is produced or stored.
Tips for Landscapers, Property Managers and Building Owners
- Keep wood mulch 18” away from combustible exteriors of buildings such as wood or vinyl siding. Don’t put it right up against the building.
- Use materials such as pea stone or crushed rock for the first 18” as a barrier around the foundation of the building.
- Provide proper receptacles for smoking materials at entrances to buildings (place at least 18 inches away from the building) and in designated smoking areas. Empty regularly and do not mulch these areas.
- Train maintenance staff to watch for mulch fires, especially when conditions are most favorable for these fires (when mulch is fresh or weather is very hot and dry or windy).
Enjoy professional, supervised fireworks displays. But remember that the possession and use of any fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This includes sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers and cherry bombs and anything purchased out of state or by mail.
Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals
The Malden Fire Department asks the citizens of Massachusetts to set a good example for children and leave the fireworks to the professionals. Enjoy the many displays of fireworks supervised by local fire departments and conducted by licensed professionals. Children imitate what they see adults do and if you use fireworks, they won’t realize how dangerous they are. Not only do sparklers burn at more than 1200 degrees Fahrenheit but they also encourage the use of matches and lighters by young children
4th of July Fireworks Shows
2016 Dangers of Fireworks Press Release
Summary of the Massachusetts Fireworks Law - MGL C 148, S39
All Fireworks Are Illegal in Massachusetts Without a License
The use of fireworks except by licensed professionals is strictly prohibited in Massachusetts which has adopted the Model Fireworks Law promoted by the National Fire Protection Association.
Division of Fire Safety – Working with Fire Departments to Ensure Safe Public Displays
The Division of Fire Safety has a new webpage, Fireworks for Fire Prevention, for fire prevention officers with information and resources on how to enforce fireworks laws and regulations and make sure supervised fireworks displays are safe for both spectators and shooters. DFS stands ready to provide technical, compliance, and enforcement support, 24/7, especially during the busy 4th of July week. Call the following numbers for immediate assistance: outside of regular business hours 508-820-2000 and during normal business days (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 978-567-3375.
For more information contact the Malden Fire Department 781-397-7383, or visit the Deparment of Fire Services website http://www.mass.gov/eopss/
Information provided by the Department of Fire Services