Todd Simcox says it looks like we're going to have a sunny, humid, and warm 4th of July! So that means there will be plenty of barbecues going on. According to the Bangor Fire Department, the National Fire Protection Association says June and July are the months when most grilling-related fires occur. So they've offered a few tips to help you grill safely!

Now, before you say "this could never happen to me," let me share a few facts from the NFPA website...

  •  In 2006-2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,600 home and outside fires. These 8,600 fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen.
  • Flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in almost half of home outdoor grill fires. In almost half (46%) of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, 53% of the outside gas grills, and 26% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.

So the Bangor Fire Department offers a few quick tips to remember, as you prepare to fire up the grill for your family barbecue....

  • Only use the grill outdoors. Sounds simple, right? But it's easy to think that it would be better to put the grill in the garage, with the door open, if a few raindrops fall. BAD idea! Fire AND Carbon Monoxide poisoning risks here!
  • Keep the grill in an open area, away from combustibles like overhangs, siding, picnic tables, etc.
  • Keep pets and children away from the hot grill.
  • Don't leave the grill unattended.
  • If you're using charcoal, only use lighter fluid to ignite the fire. NEVER use gasoline or any other flammable liquid.
  • Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum while using the grill. That's how mistakes are often made. There will be plenty of time to knock back some brews once you get the burgers cooked!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday!