MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Fire Department is continuing to keep the community informed about potential fire hazards — and is sharing some tips on safe grilling as we prepare for the summer season.

Among the leading causes of damage to residences during the warmer months is cooking fires. In the most recent five-year period for which data is available, fire departments nationwide responded to approximately 8,900 incidents involving gas and charcoal grills, which resulted in 10 deaths and $118 million in property damage.

To minimize the risk of injury and damage, the Department advises residents to follow these guidelines:

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  • Read and follow the user manual and safety instructions included with your grill.
  • Keep grills positioned well away from homes, including exterior walls, deck railings, and overhangs as well as tree branches.
  • Be mindful of children and pets. The three-foot diameter around the grill should be considered a potentially unsafe area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing accumulated grease and fat. Failure to maintain a clean grill is a leading cause of fires.
  • Follow appropriate safety protocols for using charcoal, such as using only charcoal starter fluid, and disposing of coals in a metal container after allowing them to cool.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption while grilling, and never leave a hot grill unattended.

Fireworks present another potential summer danger.  With the exception of authorized displays conducted by trained professionals, it is unlawful to use fireworks in New Jersey, and fireworks remain a leading cause of emergency room visits during the summer. Residents are also reminded that warm, dry weather presents an increased risk of brush and tree fires.  Discarding charcoal responsibly and remembering to fully extinguish cigarettes can prevent easily avoidable disasters.

“During and after Memorial Day weekend, our neighbors will be enjoying cookouts and outdoor activities in record numbers,” said Millburn Fire Chief Robert Echavarria. “By taking common-sense precautions, residents of Millburn-Short Hills and the surrounding communities can have a fun-filled summer while reducing potential threats to their families and homes. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer season.”