grilling and firework safety

Grilling Safety

Many people enjoy barbecuing in the summer months. But when grills are not used safely, things can go horribly wrong. Between 2013 and 2017 Massachusetts fire departments responded to 480 fires involving grills, hibachis, and barbecues. These fires caused 19 civilian injuries, three firefighter injuries, and $3.3 million in property damage. For safe grilling, always follow your owner's manual and practice the safety tips provided here. 

Safety First

  • Always grill outdoors
  • Grills cannot be used on a porch, balcony or deck with a roof, overhang or wall (other than the exterior of the building)
  • Grills can only be used on open first floor porches, decks or patios if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or the porch is at ground level
  • Grills must be 10-feet from the side of a building unless the manufacturer's instructions say it can be closer 
  • Make sure grills are not underneath overhanging branches
  • Grills cannot be used on fire escapes
  • Place grills away from the house and deck railings
  • Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children
  • Keep children and pets three feet away from grills
  • Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders

Gas Grill Safety

Gas grills are safe and convenient when they are assembled and used properly. Gas grills are fueled by liquid propane which is pressurized and requires special handling and storage. Always read and follow manufacturer's instructions for operation, as well as the care and maintenance of your grill (leaks, blockages).
  • Make sure that the lid of a gas grill is open when you light it. Propane can build up inside and when ignited, the lid may blow off
  • If you smell gas while cooking, turn off and get away from the grill. Call 911 from a
  • safe location. Do not move the grill
  • Always turn off the burners and close the propane cylinder when done cooking
  • Never leave a burning grill unattended
  • Keep all propane outdoors, at least 10 feet away from building openings such as doors, windows and dryer vents, and 20 feet away from air intake vents and ignition sources
  • Do not smoke while handling a propane cylinder
  • Propane storage: store cylinders upright in an outdoor, shaded area; do not leave cylinders in a vehicle; cylinders should not be used, stored, or transported where they can be exposed to high temperatures

Charcoal Grill Safety

  • Use only charcoal starter fluid. Gasoline and kerosene should not be used to start a fire in a grill. Never add lighter fluid to burning briquettes or hot coals. Doing so may cause a flash fire and result in serious burn injuries
  • Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Always use charcoal grills in a well-ventilated area. Never use charcoal grills indoors
  • For proper disposal of grill ashes, allow the coals to burn out completely and then cool for 48 hours before disposal
  • If you must dispose of ashes before they are completely cooled, thoroughly soak them in water before putting them in a metal container

Be Smart...

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

Enjoy Supervised Professional Fireworks Displays

Local fire departments supervise professional fireworks displays all over Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, children and adults continue to set off illegal fireworks that start fires and cause serious injuries to themselves and others.

Fireworks Can Be Deadly and Cause Severe Injuries

In the past decade (2008-2017), 45 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burns injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% or more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS). Of these victims, 56% were children and youths under age 25. These victims are scarred for life.

All Fireworks Are Illegal in Massachusetts

The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens are illegal in Massachusetts. This includes Class C fireworks which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Sparklers burn at 1,800ºF.

It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.

Do Not Purchase Fireworks through Mail-Order or Online Catalogs

Do not purchase fireworks by mail. The government cannot prohibit the advertising and sale of fireworks by mail, but police do confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.

Set a Good Example for Children

Children imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are. Of fireworks-related burn injuries reported to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, 51% in the last 10 years (2007-2016) were caused to children under the age of 18. Almost 30% were children under age 10.

Fires Caused by Fireworks

In the past decade (2008-2017) there have been 784 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). The incidents caused 10 civilian injuries, four fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $1.9 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires. 


Additional Safety and Prevention

Weston Fire Department has additional information on its website at, including several safety and prevention documents to help keep residents safe during the summer.

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