With Memorial Day Weekend marking the unofficial beginning of summer, UGI Utilities, Inc. urges residents to stay safe while enjoying traditional outdoor activities.
For example, with the arrival of grilling season, outdoor cooks are encouraged to follow these important safety tips while using their natural gas grills:
- The most common cause of gas grill fires is a fuel line leak or obstruction. This typically takes place behind, underneath, or inside your grill. Before using your grill, clean the grill and perform a routine safety check. Check fuel line hoses for holes, cracks, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing. Use a flexible brush to remove loose debris from the casting sides and inside of the grill lid. Use a thin wire brush to gently clean the holes or ports of each burner.
- Regularly inspect your gas grill throughout the summer months. Insects and other animals can climb into the grill and cause damage and blockages. At the first sign of any problem, turn off the valves and the fuel tank, and disconnect all controls. Gas grillsproduce a great deal of heat that can melt through hoses, knobs, and other parts. Assume all grill parts are extremely hot.
- Each year, grills cause thousands of fires and millions of dollars in damage. Keep a fire extinguisher near your grill. Know how to cut off the fuel supply and extinguish fires. Contact the fire department if necessary.
- A natural gas burner flame should be primarily blue with a small yellow tip. If the flame does not have that appearance, have your grill checked by a qualified technician.
- Keep combustible materials such as paper products, linens, and clothing away from burners.
- After you are done cooking, make sure all burners are turned off, as well as the valve on the natural gas supply. Keep the hood closed to prevent water from getting into the grill. Consider using a grill cover for added protection.
- If you smell gas or detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and call a qualified technician to check the equipment. Do not attempt to light the grill until the leak is repaired.
- Never use a grill indoors. Make sure the grill is at least 10 feet away from your house or any structure. Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or under a surface that can catch fire.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease and fat buildup from the grate and in trays below the grill.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area when it is in use and while the grill is cooling off. Never leave your grill unattended while in use.
Natural gas customers who use propane to fuel their grill might consider having a natural gas connection installed. This would eliminate the need for propane tanks and will provide a constant source of fuel.
Use Energy Safely Every Day
UGI also encourages residents to follow these additional summer safety tips:
- Use covers on outdoor power outlets, especially near swimming pools. Keep cords and electrical devices away from the water, and never handle electrical items before you have dried off.
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrical shock injuries. These devices interrupt the flow of power when they sense a surge.
- UGI reminds all individuals doing excavation work to call to 8-1-1 at least three business days before starting a digging project to have underground utilities marked. Every digging project, no matter the size, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and even small projects like planting trees or shrubs are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 8-1-1 before starting. There is no charge to homeowners for 8-1-1 requests.
- Call UGI or 911 if you detect the odor of gas. An odorant that smells like rotten eggs is added to natural gas to assist in detecting a gas leak. If you smell the odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you and leaving the door open. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off. Once in a location where the odor of gas is no longer present, call 911 or UGI from your cell phone or neighbor’s home. UGI’s emergency response number is (800) 276-2722. UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately. Emergency response is available 24-hours a day, every day. There is no cost to investigate a report of a gas leak.
UGI Utilities is a natural gas and electric utility with headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania. UGI serves 740,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland. Customers and community members are invited to visit the UGI website at www.ugi.com; our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities; or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.