ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - Apr 1, 2013) - A nationwide poll in 2012 by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) showed that 85 percent of consumers prefer to cook outdoors and during the peak outdoor cooking season, 56 percent of grill and smoker owners are cooking outdoors one to two times per week. Unfortunately, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2006 and 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,600 home fires involving grills and barbecues each year, which caused an annual average of 10 deaths, 140 injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
"Whether you're cooking on a grill at home, tailgating in the parking lot or over a roaring fire at a campsite, if you don't take precautions and follow safety procedures, serious bodily harm or fatalities can occur, as well as significant property damage," said Ross McRoy, president of Enviro-Log. "Unfortunately many enthusiasts don't think about safety until after an accident has already occurred. Please consider the following safety tips to help you avoid outdoor cooking accidents."
- Safety first. Always read instruction manuals and consult the manufacturer about proper use of your grill, fire pit or chiminea before use. Never leave your grill or fire unattended and be sure to keep children and pets away from the fire and cooking area. Have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergency.
- Select the proper location. Grills, firepits, and chimineas should only be used outdoors and never in a trailer, tent, house, garage, covered porch or any enclosed area. They should be positioned at least 10 feet away from your house. Operating a grill, firepit or chiminea in an enclosed area can lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide.
- Stay out of the wind. Never operate your grill, fire pit or chiminea in high winds. Operating a grill, firepit or chiminea in high winds can significantly increase the risk of flames spreading to nearby structures including your home.
- Charcoal grills. Never add lighter fluid or any other flammable liquids to a charcoal grill that has been lit. Doing so can result in flare ups that can travel several feet. Consider alternative firestarter products that offer a preselected start that can easily be extinguished. Always let your charcoal cool completely before moving your charcoal grill or leaving it unattended.
- Propane and natural gas grills. Always check for gas leaks every time you disconnect and reconnect the regulator to your propane tank. Never attach or disconnect a propane tank, or move or alter gas fittings when the grill is in operation or is hot. Never use a propane tank if it contains bulges, dents, gouges, corrosion, rust or other forms of visual external damage. Clean and perform general maintenance on your propane or natural gas grill twice a year. Always turn off gas at the source (tank or supply line) prior to inspecting parts. Visually inspect hoses for abrasion, wear and leaks before each use. When lighting a gas grill, always keep the lid open to prevent a flash off from gas build-up. Almost a third of gas grill injuries happened while the grill was being lit, according to the NFPA. Do not lean over the grill when igniting the burners or cooking. If the gas grill does not ignite on the first try, HPBA advises waiting five minutes for the gas to clear before trying again.
- Campfires. The U.S. Forest Service recommends using existing firepits and fire rings at campsites. Always consult your campsite for fire guidelines. Never build a fire in hazardous, dry conditions, and keep campfires at least 15 feet away from tents, shrubs, trees (and low-hanging branches) and other flammable objects. Have a bucket of water and shovel nearby. Never cut branches from live trees, and only use material that is approved for use by your campsite. When finished with a campfire, be sure it is fully extinguished before abandoning it. Dousing it with water is preferred, but dirt and sand can also be used to mix up the embers until they are cooled.
Food safety is also important. Enviro-Log also recommends the following guidelines for food preparation and handling.
- Separate raw meat and poultry from ready-to-eat foods. This ensures that raw juices do not come into contact with other foods. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or other perishable foods, including egg products.
- Cook your food thoroughly. Use a clean food thermometer, which measures the internal temperature, to make sure your meat is cooked all the way through. For example, cooking ground beef to at least 160° F, you can be certain that E. coli and other bacteria are killed.
- Refrigerate leftovers. Store leftovers in shallow containers to hasten cooling. Discard any food left out more than 1 hour, depending on food type.
For additional information on fire safety and outdoor cooking safety, please visit the following resources:
About Enviro-Log, Inc.
Enviro-Log® is an eco-friendly, consumer products and recycling company headquartered in Fitzgerald, Ga. Enviro-Log is the largest waxed cardboard recycler in North America and the third largest producer of manufactured firelogs in the U.S. Its firelogs are made of 100 percent recycled materials and burn cleaner than wood while providing 50 percent more heat per pound. Enviro-Log Firelogs can be purchased at select national retail locations including Home Depot, Kmart, Lowes, True Value, Rite Aid, Sears, Whole Foods, Walmart, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Shaw's SuperMarkets, Select Ace Hardware, Stop & Shop, Giant Foods, Fred Meyer, Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, Weis Markets, Winn-Dixie, Blain's Farm & Fleet and many regional retailers throughout the U.S. Enviro-Log Firelogs are also available in Canada at Lowe's, Walmart, and Canadian Tire locations. Made from 100 percent recycled eco-friendly wax, Enviro-Log Firestarters offer an alternative to kindling, petroleum-based starter blocks, lighter fluids, and ethanol-based gels. Enviro-Log Firestarters are available at select retail locations throughout the United States, including Ace Hardware, Lowe's Home Improvement stores nationwide and many regional grocery and hardware retailers such as Weis Markets, Stop & Shop, Giant Foods, and Blain's Farm & Fleet. More information on Enviro-Log can be found at www.enviro-log.net or by calling (866)343-6847. Retailers can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Enviro-Log on Facebook® at www.Facebook.com/Envirolog, or Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/EnviroLogFire for tips and product giveaways.
Enviro-Log is a registered trademark of Enviro-Log, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are properties of their respective companies.