Plainville Fire Department


Grillin' Safety Tips

Barbecue season is finally here! There are a few things to watch out for when cooking outdoors so that you enjoy yourself and stay safe!

  • Never use a propane barbecue grill on a balcony, terrace or roof. It is both dangerous and illegal.
  • Only use a charcoal barbecue grill on a balcony or terrace if there is a ten foot clearance from the building and there is an immediate source of water (garden hose or four (4) gallon pail of water). Otherwise, such barbequeings is dangerous and illegal.
  • Propane barbecue grills and no more than two (2) 20-pound propane tanks are allowed on the grounds of a one or two-family home.
  • Storing propane (LP) cylinders above the first floor of a building used for human habitation is prohibited by Massachusetts Code of Fire Prevention Regulations 527 CMR 6.07 (5)(a).
  • Remember, should you have an LP-gas fire CALL  THE  FIRE  DEPARTMENT  IMMEDIATELY  BY  DIALING  911. Do not try to extinguish the fire yourself.


  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is a by-product of combustion. It is undetectable by all human senses.
  • One thousand Americans are killed by Carbon Monoxide annually.
  • Ten thousand will seek treatment of symptoms. Many times the symptoms are misdiagnosed as the flu.
  • Early recognition of CO can only be made by a carbon monoxide detector.


  • Follow the manufacturer's installation and operating instructions.
  • Have your unit serviced if the burner flame is not blue. The blue flame indicates complete combustion. A yellow flame means air inlets are clogged or burners need to be adjusted.
  • All grills either charcoal or LP-gas type should only be used outside the home.
  • Make sure the grill is at least 10 feet away from your house, garage, or trees.
  • Don't use grills in a garage, porch, deck or on top of anything that can catch on fire.
  • Keep children away from fires and grills. It is a good idea to establish a safety zone around the grill and instruct children to remain outside the zone. A chalk line works great for this purpose.
  • Have a fire extinguisher, a garden hose attached to a water supply, or at least 16-quarts of water close by in case of a fire.


  • Check your grill thoroughly for broken parts, cracks or brittleness before using it.
  • When using your grill for the first time, be aware of spiders of small insects that can nest in your burner assembly. This nest will block the proper flow of LP-gas and sometimes create a flashback. If you notice that your grill is getting hard to light or the flame isn’t as strong as you think it should be, take time to check and clean the burner venturi. This can be done by using a flexible brush or have it serviced by a technician.
  • Inspect the grill, the LP-gas supply connections, and the tubing for leaks prior to use. LP-gas has a distinctive odorant similar to natural gas, if you suspect a leak or smell an odor-do not attempt to light the grill. Shut-off the cylinder.


  • Don't wear loose clothing that might catch fire.
  • Use long handled barbecue tools and/or flame resistant mitts.
  • Never pour or squirt starter fluid onto an open flame. The flame can easily flashback along the fluid's path to the container in your hands.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill, they are flammable!
  • Never leave the grill unattended.


  • Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning and storing instructions that accompany the grill.
  • Keep your grill clean and free of grease buildup that may lead to a fire.
  • Never store liquid or pressurized fuels inside your home and/or near any possible sources of flame.


  • For PROPANE Grills - turn off the burners. For CHARCOAL Grills - close the grill lid. For ELECTRIC Grills - disconnect the power.
  • For 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 call the fire department (911).
  • If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or endangers property, ALWAYS DIAL 911.
  • NEVER attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.


  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • To light the grill safely: (1) open the lid, (2) turn on the cylinder valve, (3) turn on the burner and finally, (4) use the igniter switch to ignite the LP-gas. If the burner does not ignite in 5 seconds, turn off the LP-gas at the burner valve; wait 5-minutes then try again.
  • LP-gas should never be stored in homes or garages. LP-gas is heavier than air. A leaking cylinder would allow the flammable gas to seep into homes and basements. Always turn-off the gas at the cylinder and at the controls of the grill.

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