Residents urged to be extra cautious when it comes to holiday barbecuing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Staff report

Nearly a thousand Americans are injured each year by fireworks and grill fires, more than half of which occur during the first week of July.

Suffolk Fire Chief Mark Outlaw and officials throughout the Commonwealth are urging citizens to use caution as the outdoor grilling season gets officially under way. Enjoy the holiday, but be careful is the message echoed to residents.

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&uot;The safest way to prevent fireworks related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals,&uot; said Suffolk Fire Marshal A.G. Barrett. Barrett added that all fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal in the city of Suffolk.

However, displays by fireworks professionals are allowed after completing an application to the Fire Prevention Bureau. There are two such displays in Suffolk This Fourth of July: Sleepy Hole Park and the Crittenden, Eclipse, Hobson Community Celebration.

Suffolk firefighters also offer the following grill/barbecue safety tips:

nBefore using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venture tubes – where the air and gas mix – are not blocked.

n Do not overfill the propane tank.

nDo not wear loose clothing while cooking on a barbecue.

nBe careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.

nKeep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach you children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.

nOnly light the grill on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, especially those with vinyl siding, dry leaves, and

flammable and combustible materials.

n Dispose of hot coals properly – never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.

nNever grill/barbecue in enclosed areas – carbon monoxide could be produced.

nMake sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 if a burn warrants medical attention.

This information was supplied by the Suffolk Fire Department.