SOURCE: Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

May 26, 2005 12:57 ET

Enjoy the Thrill of the Grill, Safely

UL Advice Protects You, Friends and Family While Entertaining Outdoors

NORTHBROOK, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 26, 2005 -- The numbers tell the story: Barbecuing ranks as the summer's favorite way to entertain. "Americans love the thrill of the grill," says John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs for Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), the not-for-profit product safety testing organization. "We barbecue about 3 billion times a year, but too often we light up more than the grill."

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says gas-fueled grills caused an estimated 600 home structure fires and 3,200 home outdoor fires in 2001. Also, charcoal or other solid-fueled grills caused an estimated 400 home structure fires and 200 home outdoor fires during 2001.

However, by following a few simple guidelines you can protect the chef, the family, your guests and the meal, too, says Drengenberg.

Whether you're using a charcoal or a gas grill, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. If the manual is missing, contact the manufacturer for a replacement or check the company's Web site.

Regardless of the type of grill you use, keep your distance. Set up and use the grill at least 10 feet away from your house or other buildings, deck railings and from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Also, position the grill out of range of play areas and away from backyard traffic patterns. "Enforce a child-and-pet-free zone of at least 3 feet around the grill," Drengenberg says. "And, never leave the grill unattended, especially when young children or pets are nearby."

Safety tips for charcoal grills:

--  Use only starter fluid, never gasoline or kerosene, to light a
    charcoal fire.
--  Never attempt to restart a flame by adding additional starter fluid to
    an already-lit grill.  This can cause a flare-up.
--  Dispose of charcoal away from children and pets, and cool it down with
    a hose.  Coals are hot: up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Safety tips for gas grills:
--  Check the hoses from the gas supply for cracking, brittleness, holes
    and leaks.  Make sure there are no kinks in the hose or tubing.
--  Inspect the tubes leading into the burner for any blockages from
    debris, spiders, insects, or grease.  A pipe cleaner or wire can clear any
    obstruction to the main part of the burners.
--  Follow the manufacturer's instructions to check for a gas leak,
    particularly if you smell gas when you reconnect the grill to the propane
    tank.  Never use a match to check for leaks.  Instead, immediately turn off
    the gas, and don't attempt to light the grill again until the leak is
"Finally, one of the most important things you can do is to have a spray bottle handy to control flare-ups and have a fire extinguisher close by just in case things get out of hand," Drengenberg adds. "Remember to use the extinguisher based on the PASS method: Pull pin; Aim at base of fire; Squeeze handle; and Sweep from side to side."

For more tips on summer safety, visit the UL Web site at

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products for more than 110 years. UL tests more than 19,000 types of products annually, and more than 19 billion UL Marks appear on products each year. Worldwide, the UL family of companies and its network of service providers include 58 laboratories, and testing and certification facilities. More information is available at

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