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State Fire Marshal Offers Outdoor Safety Tips
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By State Fire Marshal
May 23, 2023



STATEWIDE (May 22, 2023) - With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, families across Maryland will venture outside – either to the beach or the mountains – or maybe just to their backyard.

Increased outdoor activities also result in an increase of outdoor fire risks; therefore State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci is providing a few common-sense tips that will help Marylanders enjoy a safe holiday weekend and summer season.  “These tips will help reduce the chance of a tragedy that could ruin an otherwise fun-filled time of the year,” stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Gerai

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Gas Grills:

  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders should always be transported in the upright position on the floor of the vehicle with all windows open. Never transport cylinders in the trunk of a car.  Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.
  • Ensure all connections are tight. Check all connections with soapy water. The appearance of bubbles indicates leaks – retighten leaking connections.
  • Make sure grease is not allowed to drip onto the hose or gas cylinder.
  • Store the cylinder (including those attached to barbecues), outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight.
  • Read thoroughly and follow manufacturer’s instructions for gas grill use. Save the instructions!

Outdoor Cooking Safety Tips for Charcoal Grills:

  • Use only a small amount of charcoal starter fuel. A little goes a long way! Consider using charcoal that does not require starter fuel for ignition.
  • Once a fire has been started, never add starter fuel! Fire can easily follow the stream of fluid back to the container and possibly cause an explosion.
  • Use great caution in disposing of ashes. Ashes may contain live coals that can start a fire if not disposed of properly.  The safest method is to wet the ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the barbecue.

With any outdoor cooking equipment, never be tempted to use them inside – not even in a garage or on a porch or balcony says the State Fire Marshal.  “Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas which even in small quantities can cause injury or death. LPG cylinders that develop a leak indoors can be the cause of an explosion with devastating results.” said Geraci 

 With warmer weather, public fireworks displays attract thousands of spectators every year.  These licensed and inspected events afford Marylanders a safe and pleasurable way to celebrate.  Often times however, persons are tempted to use illegal fireworks or legal fireworks.  The following tips can help Marylanders enjoy fireworks – safely!

  • Plan to attend one of hundreds of licensed and inspected public fireworks displays held annually across Maryland.
  • Remember, the only fireworks allowed for personal use in Maryland are snap n’ pops, party poppers, black snakes, gold-labeled sparklers, and ground-based sparkling devices.
  • If allowing children to participate, they should only use legal fireworks with close adult supervision. Make sure to keep sparklers away from the body and loose fitting clothing.  Read and follow the instructions on the sparkler package!  Sparklers burn at approximately 1,200°F.
  • Never mix alcohol and fireworks. The combination could be deadly.
  • Fully extinguish remains of fireworks in water before disposal.
  • All fireworks are banned in Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County. The town of Ocean City along with Howard County and Harford County has specifically prohibited Ground-based Sparkling Devices.

By following these simple safety tips, Marylanders can avoid injury and enjoy a wonderful holiday and summer season.  


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