Stay safe this Labor Day

Published 9:44 pm Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Suffolk community is gearing up to enjoy Labor Day weekend, but emergency services are also advising caution during the extended weekend festivities.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue urged all citizens to make safety a priority this weekend in a city press release. The release referred to national statistics from 2013 to 2017, which show that fire departments went to an average of 10,200 home fires every Labor Day, including 4,500 structure fires. These home fires cases involved grills, hibachis or barbecues.

The following are common-sense grilling safety tips:

  • Keep small children and pets safely away from the grill.
  • Wear a thick apron when grilling and use long-handled utensils and an oven mitt.
  • Do not leave a grill unattended.
  • Clean the grill, as a build-up of grease makes it more susceptible to starting a fire.
  • Place the grill far away from homes, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches, along with anything else that could catch fire.
  • Propane and charcoal grills must be used outdoors.
  • Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it, and only use charcoal starter fluid if you decide to use any starter fluid. Keep that charcoal fluid out of reach of children and away from heat sources. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to an active fire.
  • Let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container that’s located away from your home or any other structure.
  • If using a propane grill, check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose to test for propane leaks, as a leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. Get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again if the leak stops, but if the leak doesn’t stop, call 911.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call 911. Do not move the grill. If the flame goes out while grilling, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before relighting it.

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Also, Suffolk Police will increase patrols this Labor Day weekend to keep the roads safe from impaired drivers, as people will be traveling and partying from Friday to Monday to ring in summer’s unofficial end.

Police offered advise citizens to always wear a seat belt, never drink and drive, be patient and avoid distractions while driving.

“Avoid using your cell phone, keep your eyes ahead of you, never text and drive, and stay vigilant on the road,” according to the press release.