Summer Safety Tips from The Lakewood Career Firefighters, FMBA Local 80

fmba 80[UPDATED] The Lakewood Career Firefighters, FMBA Local 80 would like to remind you how to have hot fun in the summer time without getting burned! Every season brings its own safety hazards. During the summer months there is an increased risk of fire associated with the use of barbecue grills (propane, charcoal, electric), gasoline, fireworks and fire pits. Spring into Summer by protecting yourself and your family by taking the following precautions. 


Every year barbecue grills cause more than 1,500 structural fires and 4,200 outdoor fires. Many of these fires occurred when a barbecue grill was used for the first time after winter storage.



New Jersey Uniform Fire Code regulations provide that charcoal burners, portable liquid propane cooking equipment and other open-flame cooking devices such as barbecue grills and outdoor fireplaces shall not be stored or used:

 On any porch, balcony, or any other portion of the building.

 Within any room or space of a building.

Within 5 feet of any combustible exterior wall.

Within 5 feet, vertically or horizontally, of any opening (windows, doors, crawl spaces) in any wall.

Under any building overhang.



Check your barbecue grill thoroughly for cracking or brittleness.

Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects or food grease. Use a pipe cleaner or wire to clear any blockage and push it through to the main part of the burner.

Visually inspect the propane hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. A soap and water solution may be used to test for leaks. Never use a flame to check for gas leaks.

Move propane hoses as far as possible from hot surfaces and dripping grease.

Visually inspect the propane tank. If it has dents, gouges, bulges, corrosion, leakage, or excessive rust, return the tank to the propane gas distributor.

Do not attempt to repair the propane tank valve or the appliance yourself. Have a qualified repair person make the repairs.

Follow the maintenance instructions provided in the grill owner’s manual.

Keep children and pets away from grills. Establish a safety zone around the grill and instruct children to remain outside the zone.



Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use only. Never barbecue in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area as carbon monoxide may accumulate and kill you.

When the propane tank is connected, the grill must be kept outside in a well-ventilated space. When not in use, the propane tank valve must be turned to the OFF or CLOSED position.

Position the grill in an open area at least 10 feet away from buildings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches. Store and use your grill on a large flat surface that cannot burn.

Use barbecue utensils with long handles to avoid burns and splatters. Use flame retardant mitts.

Don’t wear loose clothing that might catch on fire.

Use lighter fluid specifically made for starting charcoal fires. Never use any other flammable liquid to start a fire.

Never pour or squirt lighter fluid onto an open flame.

Have a charged garden hose or fire extinguisher available to extinguish any small grill flare ups.

Once lit, never leave a grill unattended. Keep children and pets away from grills.



Propane Grills – turn off the burners. Charcoal Grills – close the grill lid. Electric Grills – disconnect the power.

Propane Grills – if you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it off.

If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone, evacuate the area and immediately call 911.

Never attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved fire extinguisher.

If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or property immediately CALL 911


Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning and storing instructions.

Keep your grill clean and free of grease buildup that may lead to a fire.

Always shut off the propane fuel at the grill and at the tank after you have finished barbecuing.

Always soak coals with water after cooking; coals retain heat for long periods of time.

Remove the charcoal ashes from the grill and place them into a metal container with a tight fitting metal lid. Add and mix in water with the ashes, and set aside for several days, prior to disposal.

Disconnect the power source.

Never store propane tanks inside the house or garage.



Precautions should be taken while transporting propane tanks (whether full or empty).

Propane tanks should be secured in an upright position in the back seat of your car, or in the pickup bed of your truck, with transportation plugs on the outlet valve connection.

Avoid having other passengers in the car, especially children. Never leave a propane tank unattended in your car.


Videos: (Grilling Safety by NFPA)



Gasoline is used to fuel many household appliances. In addition to our cars, gasoline is used in lawn care equipment, power washers, air compressors, snow blowers, boats and motorcycles. It has become so much a part of our everyday lives that we often forget how dangerous it can be if not properly stored or used. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and will move along close to the ground. These vapors will ignite with violence if an ignition source is reached, such as a pilot light, a lit cigarette, or a spark.


Don’t be fuelish! Take the following precautions when handling, storing and disposing of gasoline.



In New Jersey, it is illegal for any person, other than the service station attendant to dispense gasoline into a portable container. Only approved safety containers are permitted.

Shut off your vehicles engine. DO NOT SMOKE.

Remove the container from the vehicle and place the container on the ground. Portable containers should not be filled when located inside a truck, passenger compartment or truck bed of a vehicle.

Have the attendant fill the container only 95 percent full to allow for expansion during temperature changes.

After filling, ensure that the container cap and vent cap are secured tightly.

When transporting the gasoline container, place the container in the pickup bed or car trunk. Secure the container so it will not tip or slide around. Never place the container in the passenger compartment.

Never leave the container in direct sunlight inside a vehicle or in the trunk of a vehicle.



Store only a 30-day supply, but not more than one gallon in an approved safety container.

Never store gasoline in plastic containers such as a milk jug or in glass jars.

Store gasoline in a cool and well-ventilated area.

Store gasoline away (at least 50 feet) from any source of heat or open flame, such as a pilot light.

Store gasoline in the garage or a well-ventilated shed. Never store gasoline in the house or in a garage where a boiler or hot water heater is installed.

Store gasoline out of children’s sight and reach.

Never use gasoline as a cleaner, charcoal starter or solvent.

Allow gas-powered equipment, such as a lawnmower to cool before refueling. (Refueling hot powered equipment can cause vapors to ignite.)

Refuel equipment outdoors.

Never dispose of gasoline by pouring it into the ground or into a sewer, street drain, stream or placing it into the trash. These actions are environmentally harmful and may cause a fire or explosion.



Amateur use of fireworks can lead to devastating burns, other injuries, fires and even death. Each year approximately 10,000 people are medically treated for fireworks-related injuries. Many people think sparklers are harmless fireworks that are safe to use. Sparklers can heat up to 1800 degrees and can easily catch fire to clothing or hair. For these reasons, the possession and use of any fireworks, without exception, is illegal in New Jersey. Leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy the many fireworks displays scheduled throughout the Garden State. These displays are conducted under the proper supervision.


Outdoor fireplaces

Fire places are known to be a great source of warmth and ambience when following the manufacturer’s directions. But, with the popularity of outdoor fire places increasing, fire safety has become even more important. There are many things you should consider while setting up and using an outdoor fireplace. The use of outdoor fire places is permissible when all regulations are followed.


The use of the fire place should be in an open area not less than 15 feet away from buildings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.

Clear the area around the fire place. Make sure the fire place is on a flat surface that will not catch on fire (concrete).

Outdoor fire places are commercially available with a spark guard that is used to prevent flying embers.

Keep away from flammable material and fluids.

Do not use flammable fluids such as gasoline, alcohol, and charcoal lighter fluid to light or relight fires.

Never allow children to use and/or be unsupervised around the fire place. Keep children and pets away.

Do not wear flammable or loose fitting clothing around the fire place.

Before starting the fire, check the weather forecast. Avoid using your fire place during periods of drought. Avoid windy conditions that can blow embers or strengthen the fire.

Before starting the fire, make sure you have a charged garden hose or fire extinguisher available to extinguish any small fires.

Never leave a fire place unattended.

Allow the fire to burn itself out. Monitor and make sure that the fire has been extinguished and cooled down.

If a fire escapes your fire pit that either threatens your personal safety or property immediately CALL 911



Start to prepare for storm related outages. Make sure your flashlights and portable radios have batteries and that other supplies, such as bottled water, are stocked and available.

Remove all hazards. Check and correct things such as frayed or damaged appliance cords, wiring, fuses or breakers. Address piles of rubbish, trash and yard debris. Remove stacks of paper and magazines; take them to recycling centers.

Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances.

Check for adequate clearance between heating appliances and combustibles.

Properly store flammable liquids and home chemicals. Make sure that gasoline and cleaning fluids are well marked and are out of the reach of children and pets. Store in a cool, dry place outside the house.

Cleanup work areas. Put dangerous tools, adhesives, matches or other work items away and out of any child’s reach. Make sure that all chemicals are kept under lock and key and out of reach of children and pets.

Check fire protection and safety equipment. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Make sure all doors and windows open easily and are accessible for fast escapes.

Make sure your street numbers are posted properly and are visible. Numbers should be at least 4 inches high in contrasting color to what it is attached to. Numbers should be on both sides of a mailbox so it is visible from either direction. If on the house, numbers should be near the door, not blocked by columns or trees and bushes.

Plan your escape. Sit down with your family and make sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire by designing a home escape plan. Make sure you have two ways out of every room and that you have a meeting place outside the home for the whole family.

Practice the escape plan. Even the best plan is no good if it’s not practiced.





Test them often to make sure they work.

Replace the batteries at least twice a year when you change your clock for daylight savings.


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