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Plainfield Fire Protection District discusses barbecue and fire pit safety

Steve Spagnolo grills outside his Virginia home in this 2015 AP photo
Steve Spagnolo grills outside his Virginia home in this 2015 AP photo

Here's some tips from the Plainfield Fire Protection District to safely enjoy barbecue and fire pits.

• Inspect your propane tank each spring before using it.

• Check the gas line for leaks by applying a soap and water solution which will bubble if there’s a leak.

• Turn off the gas tank if a leak is detected and have your grill repaired.

• If the leak does not stop or if your grill develops a leak while cooking call 9-1-1 and stay away from the grill.

• Always make sure your gas grill’s lid is open before lighting it and if the flame goes out turn the grill and the gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before relighting it.

• When lighting a charcoal grill only use charcoal lighter fluid, never add fluid after lighting the charcoal and never add any other flammable liquid.

• If using an electric charcoal starter be sure your extension cord is outdoor rated.

• Let coals cool before disposing of them in a metal container and store the container away from your home, garage or other structures.

• Clean all grills often to remove grease and fat build-up.

• All grills should be located outdoors away from siding and deck railings, it is recommended that grills with open flames be kept at least 10 feet away from combustible construction like siding, decks and balconies.

• Never use a grill indoors or inside of a garage.

• Never leave a fire unattended.

• A method of extinguishing the fire is required to be nearby for example a fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating or a garden hose.

• Don’t start a recreational fire or fire pit on days where conditions are hazardous to have open flames for example when the National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning.

• Never use a flammable liquid/accelerant to start a fire and never add a flammable liquid/accelerant to a fire. With all outdoor grills, recreational fires, fire pits and patio torches establish a 3-foot safe zone and keep children and pets out of the safe zone.

Recreational fires and fire pits have additional requirements depending on whether you live within a town or in an unincorporated area.

For specific requirements and more information, visit or you may also call the fire district at 815-436-5335.

For more outdoor entertaining fire safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s web site at

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