Valuing Life at a Moment’s Notice….Thoughts on Community Safety by Chief of Department Bruce Lockwood Town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department

By | August 24, 2020

Prevent Before You Preheat: Grilling Safety Tips to Protect the Youngest BBQ Enthusiasts 

Dispatch:  It was a warm summer evening in Canton, with the quintessential smell of BBQ wafting through the air. A curious little girl stood up on her tip toes, put both hands on the sides of the grill, and leaned over it to see what was cooking. Upon arrival, Canton’s volunteer EMTs found that when the charcoal grill toppled over onto her, it had caused severe 2nd and 3rd degree burns to the child’s hands, face and chest. 

In Response: While people grill all year round, the summer months are when structure fires and thermal burns, caused by grilling accidents, peak. Most of these emergencies, however, are preventable by incorporating some basic safety measures into the prep for the perfect BBQ:

  • 10 Feet of Prevention: According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2014-2018, 44% of the estimated 10,600 annual grill fires started on exterior balconies or porches. So, always place your grills at least 10 feet away from your residence, deck railings, eaves and hanging branches. 
  • 3 Feet of Permission: Children, under the age of five, accounted for 40% of thermal burns caused by direct contact with a hot grill or its contents.  So, before the charcoal is preheated or the gas is turned on, create a BBQ Safety Zone, where all children and pets are kept at least three feet away from all sides of the grill, unless supervised by a responsible adult. 
  • 0 Feet of Precaution: Leave no grill unattended. Clean your grill. Inspect your grill for leaks/breaks or other potential mechanical failure/malfunction. Keep charcoal fluid out of reach from curious, little hands. Allow hot coals to cool completely before disposal in a metal container designed for that purpose.  

Grilling fire safety tips:

This is the very best time of year for many of us. So, please keep in mind that Canton’s volunteer firefighters and EMTs always prefer to be invited guests to your BBQ versus emergency responders.  

Canton’s Volunteer EMTs, Firefighters and Fire Police are trained to handle all medical, fire, smoke, and hazardous emergencies. Prevention, however, is key to life safety in our community. That’s where you can help us keep you and your family healthy and protected throughout the year.

Yours in safety, 

Bruce Lockwood, Chief of Department