BELMAR, NJ — Bring out the hot dogs and burgers, and don’t forget the mustard and ketchup. It’s time for a barbecue this Memorial Day weekend. While everyone is anxious to light the propane or charcoal grill for the first time this season, it’s important to make sure your fire stays right there.

Belmar Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea shares these grilling safety tips, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association:


Barbecue Basics

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• Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.

• The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

• Keep children and pets away from the grill area.

• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.

• Never leave your grill unattended.

Propane Precautions

• Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.

• Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:

  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
  • Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
  •  If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.

• If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

• If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.

• As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.

• If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.

• If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call 911 immediately. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal Checklist

• There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.

• If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Once the coals are lit, never add more charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

• Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.

• There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.

• When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

For more information, call the Belmar Bureau of Fire Protection and Prevention at 732-681-3700, ext. 239 or email

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