FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 23, 2014

New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Issues Grilling Safety Alert

Upcoming Memorial Holiday Starts Summer Barbecue Season

Trenton, N.J. - The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety and the State Fire Marshal are reminding residents to review grilling safety tips to avoid injury. The Memorial Holiday weekend, followed by the July 4 celebration, is when most households will engage in outdoor grilling using propane grills for outdoor cooking of hotdogs, hamburgers and other grill prepared foods.

“We expect with the return of warmer weather, especially after one of our most severe winters, residents will be anxious for the opportunity to get the grill going again,” said William Kramer, Jr., Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety and State Fire Marshal. “However we simply would like to remind people that a few cautious steps beforehand might avoid any sort harm coming to anyone using either a charcoal or propane fuel grill.”

Kramer notes that propane gas fueled grills require a set of cautions related to the purchase and transport of the metal cylinders that fuel them.

Transporting the Propane Cylinder

  • Check to make sure your cylinder has a sealed plastic cap on the valve. Make certain the valve is closed tight before transporting.
  • Secure the cylinder in your vehicle. It should be placed on the rear seat of an automobile and secured in such a way that it will not roll around in the car’s interior. NEVER place it in the trunk. First, it could rupture if you are involved in a rear end collision. More importantly, should an accident occur, first responders might be jeopardized by being unaware of its presence in your vehicle.
  • Limit the number to two cylinders transported at one time in your vehicle.

About Your Propane Fuel Grill


  • Read the manual or look it up on the internet for usage guidelines.
  • Always check for leaks. Fill a spray bottle with soapy water and spray all the threaded connections. Bubbles will appear if you have a leak in any of them.
  • DO NOT attempt to light the grill until you have checked all connections and verified they are leak free.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby dedicated to the grill permanently.
  • If a grill flares up, first deny the fire oxygen by closing the cover, and then shut off the gas. Use the extinguisher on any remaining flame.
  • Turn off the supply valve after you turn off the burner valves when completed. It may be inconvenient but a closed supply valve prevents the unexpected.
  • Always use the cylinder in an upright position. A gas grill is designed to burn gas. On its side, the propane collects as a liquid and it can leak as a liquid.
  • NEVER use a grill inside or even under an open porch, alcove, or garage. Carbon Monoxide is a byproduct of burning and in confined spaces. It can kill you.
  • Keep extra tanks away from the grill and store outside, away from any structure.
  • Maintain and take care of your grill. Clean it regularly during the season and protect it from the weather and rusting by using a high quality grill cover.

Kramer says charcoal grills require similar use cautions. However, problems usually occur when large amounts of charcoal grill fluid are used and the grill is too close to a structure on the property.

Many smaller grills, also known as hibachis, may encourage beliefs that they do not require the same level of scrutiny that Kramer notes can lead to serious consequences. “Any grill is a source of open fire and as such represents a potential for unintended consequences related to their use,” Kramer states.

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.