7 Tips to Reduce the Risk of a Propane Explosion Accident in Oklahoma City

Every summer, millions of Oklahomans fire up their grills for backyard barbeque parties.  Many use propane grills, which, while cleaner than messy charcoal, can cause deadly explosions or burns if damaged by defects.  Here, our Oklahoma City burn injury lawyers offer up seven simple tips for reducing the risk of a gas grill explosion this summer.

Residential Gas Grill Fire and Injury Statistics

Food trucks are a popular staple of Oklahoma City and many other cities throughout the country.  In 2014, 12 people were injured – five of them seriously – when a food truck in Philadelphia exploded due to a propane leak.  The same could happen in Oklahoma City, or even your own backyard – and alarmingly, it’s more likely than you think.

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Far from being a rare event, the U.S. Fire Administration reports that there were 5,700 residential grill fires from 2006 to 2008.  While many are extinguished before anyone is harmed, residential grilling fires still cause an average of about 100 injuries and 10 deaths every year.

Close to 80% of these fires are related to various gas fuels, and within this category, nearly 70% involve propane, a flammable substance that can cause major explosions when a propane cylinder is ruptured or punctured.  Malfunctions and mechanical failures cause about 35% of fires in gas grills.  Among fires in this category, about 23% are specifically related to broken or leaking pipes and containers.

About a third of gas grill fires break out in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas like patios and screened-in porches, while another 24% begin on open balconies and open porches.  Fires are most likely to occur between the hours of 5:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. when people are grilling up dinner.

Regardless of why, when, or where they start, more than half of all residential grill fires occur during the months of May, June, July, and August, placing us squarely in the center of propane grill injury season.  If you’re planning on barbequing with friends and family this summer, make sure you brush up on propane grilling safety tips first in order to reduce the risk of being injured or burned in a fire or explosion.

7 Propane Grill Safety Tips to Prevent Explosions and Burns While Barbequing

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You can greatly reduce the risk of a propane grill accident by following these seven simple tips recommended by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  1. Always read the safety manual and instructions before using a gas grill.
  2. You should absolutely never grill indoors, not even in a screened-in porch or a garage with the door open. Set your grill up at least 10 feet away from any structure.  In the event of an accident, it will be more difficult for the fire to spread.
  3. Never smoke cigarettes or use matches or lighters near a propane source. If you want to smoke, move to a different part of the yard or driveway with plenty of space between yourself and the grill.
  4. Before you start up your grill, carefully inspect the tubes that connect to the burner, which can become clogged by grease or even insect nests. Pipe cleaners are excellent tools for cleaning out gunky, obstructed propane burner tubes.
  5. You should also inspect the grill hose. Look for signs of distress like holes, cracks, or material that feels stiff and brittle.  If you notice any of these defects, do not use the grill.
  6. Look for any scratches or damage to connectors. Damaged connectors must be replaced promptly, because they can cause a propane leak.
  7. Do not attempt to repair defects or damage by yourself. Call an experienced professional instead, and avoid using the grill in the meantime.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

If a fire does break out, do not throw water on it.  This will only make the fire worse, because propane fires do not behave like fires fed by wood or paper.  Instead, keep a bucket of sand or baking soda nearby to smother flames.  If you cannot completely smother and extinguish the fire in a matter of seconds, leave the area and call 9-1-1 immediately.

What to Do if You Get Burned by a Defective Gas Grill in Oklahoma City

Hopefully, these tips will keep you and your family safe this summer.  However, if you or one of your loved ones suffers a burn injury caused by a gas grill fire or explosion, turn to the Oklahoma City product liability lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook.  We have more than 75 years of combined experience helping accident victims in the Oklahoma City area get compensated for injuries caused by defective products, including compensation for burn injuries.

To set up a free legal consultation, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040.  We can answer your questions and help determine whether you could have a personal injury claim for your propane tank accident.